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POSTCARD FROM THE HEBRON AREA

Hebron is a very ancient city.
Our father Abraham is buried there with his wife Sarah
they say. Very holy for a land that lives off death.
In Hebron in the morning they eat pita and olives and white cheese in olive oil.
On holidays a lamb is sacrificed.
The people of Hebron love the slaughter.
Did they learn this from Jacob’s sons Shimon and Levi?
It’s been
a long time.
And those things happened in Nablus; it's different in Dura, in the Hebron area.
In Dura today, three fathers are lost to their children now.
The Hebron area has a bad reputation: it’s a stiff-necked place.
In 1929, sixty-eight yeshiva students, women and children were murdered in Hebron.
Oh tomb of Abraham our father (they say), our father and theirs.
Oh the young, frightened soldiers. Oh, March 20, 1998.
The moon nearly full, but it was still daylight. Workers from the Hebron area
were riding home. On the Hebron Road, at Tarkumia, there is a checkpoint.
Soldiers stood at the checkpoint. The driver of the car lost control. The car
rushed toward the checkpoint. The checkpoint commander
was hurt and thrown in the opposite direction.
There is also another version.
The soldiers thought they wanted to run him over.
It’s hard to know whom to believe and what.
They opened fire in an instant.
According to instructions. According to orders.
How fast it happens. How fast
one loses shape, becomes something else:
immobile, a plaster face, glass eyes.
Or limp arms afterwards, words in the mouth once again instead of screams.
Yesterday more pita and olives and perhaps sex before dawn.
Yesterday more logarithms, history, girls on the beach. And suddenly
the road is spotted with red. The moon nearly full, white as a bone.
Running to and fro, shouts, onward, afterwards the stones.
Do stones reproduce? Slowly, there’s no stopping it, the stones are fruitful and multiply.