Your walls fold gently, 
a wingspan 
embracing the dreaming city.

Your air drifts with the odor of incense, 
women’s voices floating upwards, 
a twist of prayer toward heaven’s ear.

I hold your name beneath my tongue 
like a seed 
slipped into the mouth for safekeeping.

Jerusalem, fold me like a handkerchief 
into your bosom. I am 
one word in a lover’s letter,

a chip of blue tile in your sky. 
Even those who have never seen you 
walk your streets at night.

We wipe your dust from our feet 
each morning, rise from our beds wearied 
by the long distances

we have traveled to reach you. 
See how we save even the broken bits of pottery, 
fitting fragments together

along jagged lines to remember you. 
Jerusalem, we are fledglings 
crying for a nest!


Source: Handal, N. (2001). The Poetry of Arab Women: A Contemporary Anthology. Northhampton, Massachusetts: INTERLINK BOOKS.pp.171-172