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Olive branches

Mariam declines their names like a psalm; a prayer that kept them, that jointed their pieces together, that blew life into their flesh. How can she smile!? And even thought, Mariam, mother who sees their sons dying, still smiles. A smile isno more than that, an expression, she could equally cry of joy than laugh of sadness. With the same resignation of the one who loses a harvest and doesn’t forget the dry tree but turns hes eyes and care to the remaining crops. Mariam, what a beautiful name for a son. “May God keep them for you; may you never have to see them dying; may your flesh don’t get dry and die and may you get fresh sprouts. May you never have to see how they reap the Green, fresh grass under your feet. May God give you sons! May God keep them for you!

The tears that got dry and that Mariam dips in bitter coffee are still plowing through her face, fresh. The olive trees are greener. Green as the palms that open up in between the roofs mixed with the olive branches. Like a Little Jerusalem. A Little Palestine with palm leaves heading to the top. Green, upright. Blocks of narrow streets without planification, with small roads of sand.

Everything look temporary. It is like the orange trees and the lemon trees fight to open up a place between the concrite, like if they want to avoid getting suffocated putting out their arms to ask for help over the walls and the barbed wire, and they ended up broken, squized, spilling themselves over the sand of the road. In this corner, in Beit Lahiya, houses multiply and farmland shrinks. And the olive trees cry olives over rubble. Oil teardrops never to get dry. And Mariam’s house is made of dust; and the coffee pot is shedding; the olive trees are dry; the orange trees have no branches; the sad palm dances a dancing of an unwelcomed King. Maybe it is true: everything is death.

The whole world is death. She looks for the answer into the olive, orange and lemon tree branches. A beautiful piece of land, and big. A place to farm and sow; a place to harvest the seeded plot. She and her husband have the patient of the one who waits and work for so many years (“A fountain that spurts for a moment and has cost years of our life”), to see the fruits of the sowing (“In a monstrance, of crystal and topaz, I would place that earth soaked with blood”). There they were, planting patience between the olive trees, and their mother could only embrace their flesh in a bucket. A month later.

by Nuria tesón