My Father is the Sea, The Field, The Stone

I don’t know what makes a country a country.
If the sea softening an edge of land is enough
to say this is mine and that is yours.

There were nights in Tripoli
when there was room for us.
When the sky pulled up the wings of gulls

and we watched their bodies rise from the beach.
Days when I chased my sisters through the market
and we sailed through bright saffron scarves,

past barrels of grain and earthy bins of pine nuts.
And how I stood beside my siblings, all dressed
in clothes my father made stitch by stitch,

and held out my hands for the candy he’d bring
if work was good. I knew it was a lot to ask
and still I asked. Some days I’d swim out

until I wasn’t sure I could come back.
The sun beat its indifference into my brow.
The water, its mercy. Why choose a coast

when my hands are stone?
Why a rifle when my blood is a field?
I carry these suitcases full of rain

because I can’t take my country.
If it’s a choice you want—I’ve never known
a world that wasn’t worth dying for.