Nathalie Handal

1969 / French / Palestinian / American

Bethlehem

Secrets live in the space between our footsteps.
The words of my grandfather echoed in my dreams,
as the years kept his beads and town.
I saw Bethlehem, all in dust, an empty town
with a torn piece of newspaper lost in its narrow streets.
Where could everyone be? Graffiti and stones answered.
And where was the real Bethlehem- the one my grandfather came from?
Handkerchiefs dried the pain from my hands. Olive trees and tears continued to remember.
I walked the town until I reached an old Arab man dressed in a white robe.
I stopped him and asked, 'Aren't you the man I saw in my grandfather's stories?'
He looked at me and left. I followed him- asked him why he left? He continued walking.
I stopped, turned around and realized he had left me the secrets
in the space between his footsteps.
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