Volume 9, November 2013

Ruth AwadView Contributor’s Note

The Green Line

Beirut, Lebanon, 1975—1990

The first time you see me, there will be gunfire.
Then sunlight breaks like glass

over unoccupied space.
So I am born from the mouth of a bullet hole,

and Lebanon’s burnt shell offerings
roll away.

Nothing grows from me except the dead
who knuckle through the street,

scraping through shrapnel,
the broken vertebrae of a country.

I carry their wounds for miles,
a thin, green sail:

the rigid trunk of a soldier,
branches sprouting where rifles once

rose, leaves shuddering
like white flags.

This stand of trees like a cesarean scar.
This dust-blown shade of division.