The Resistance

- by Victor de Serna

He is alone in the loneliness of the night of the Occupation
His children were killed like flies in the siege of Fallujah

He kneels like a priest on the sorrowful ruins of his family's home
The ash and rubble float like bitter smoke
And the remnants of his blasted walls lean up from the ground like jagged teeth

The night cannot touch him

His eyes are clamped in moist fury
And drown and burn like newborn infants

He gasps and swallows nothing
Suffocating at the thought of his daughter's frail, honey-colored arm
(It is if he can still feel its softness in his hand)

He gasps for oxygen as if drowning in a dream
The fatigue of the night drowning his ears
The echo of his children's laughter stabbing his knotted stomach like a father's fist
It is lost permanently, he knows.

On this night in Fallujah
His pride and decency shatter
His life collapses into an illusion
And underneath the throbbing stars his cries are unheard

The next morning
He looks down at his surrendered hands
They are dry like the air
Every wrinkle and crease now looks like a new world upon itself

He remembers the previous night and he begins to seethe with unmerciful sadness

He thinks of American children and is overwhelmed by a horrible anger
What if it were American children who were slaughtered like lambs,
Whose flesh was ripped and whose eyes were erased?
Then it would matter.

He trembles with indignity.
He closes his eyes
And with a heavy breathe
He decides he will fight

He will fight because his children's deaths and lips and fingers are not invisible
And their kisses and soft eyelashes are too joyful and real to be secondary

He must fight because the Occupation has not only invaded his country:
It has invaded the wooden planks of his children's home
It has invaded his beating heart and stomach
It has invaded his fingernails and crept beneath his eyelids
It has invaded his memories and burrowed within them forcefully
It has invaded his graying hair and nostrils
It has swept beneath his feet

But now his eyes swell up as he utters a single word to himself: Iraqi. His children were Iraqi children, he tells himself

His face tightens up with a rush of deferred pride
And a cascade of resounding affirmation overcomes him

He will join his brethren
Whose tears of sorrow and pride trickle into the same salty sea as his own,

And with his children's home, his heart and stomach,
His soiled fingernails and his red eyelids,
His life's memories and his graying hair and nostrils,
And with his tired feet
He will strike back with his blood
Take his hour of vengeance
And carve his love into the future's past

One week later
In the burning agony of the afternoon
He presses his comrade's forehead to his own
And whispers a message of love and solidarity before kissing his cheek
(He is Sunni, his comrade is Shiia)

Released, he wipes the sweat off his dignified brow
Cradles his weapon
And turns with thirsty eyes towards the blue wind

He watches bullets fly through the air towards the Occupiers
Like silver birds fleeing towards freedom

Their tanks are drooping
And their bullets melt in the wind
They are already in a posture of defeat
For if they take his life
He will die again
And again

And a million times again


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