Volume 9, November 2013

Ruth AwadView Contributor’s Note

The Bride of the South

After Sana’a Mehaidli, first female suicide bomber, Jezzine, Lebanon, 1985

Wait the seventeen years of your life.
Work your video store job,
weld your voice to a recording before locking up.
Wear the beret that means you are brave.
Don’t wince when the car door slams.
Weigh your foot against the Peugeot’s pedal,
feel through its liquid chamber
the ticking heart.

Watch the palm leaves fanning your path,
waving you to Jezzine
where knives are made of gold and waterfalls kneel
over mountains like women, long rivers of them.
Wind through the ridge-cut road
whittling past the wind-wrought pines,
wracked branches green-washing
the wrist of valley below.

Welcome the stubbled Israeli convoys ahead.
Whatever happens, don’t waver.
Wade the car up to them, your hair
wisping out the open window,
a veil of gas fumes and exhaust.
When they come like birds to salt the trees,
wrench the brake lever.

The road whispers heat. Your body wrung of its river,
wet red leaves spraying down.
Where your bones ornament the pines,
the quiet village keeps you
like a secret.