Volume Four, Issue 2

Dana JP

Tel Aviv

did you hear the sirens? so, jon says,
they killed someone in gaza last night,
explaining the rockets that morning.
by six: we crowd into the mamad,
cowering behind its reinforced doors.

further south: we wake our children and
spend thirty minutes in the stairwell. common
knowledge: if you’re out, follow the people,
it’s best to run and hide wherever they do.
you haven’t heard a siren before, but i guess

you’ll know one when it tears through sleep.
in tel aviv: just once, though. and by midday
the sky clears. midday picnics in the park again;
two distinct frisbee games on the college lawn.
when the supermarket reopens, you buy eggs,

and canned tuna and mushrooms, just in case.
by evening: you turn off the Red Alert pings,
mute IDF media updates on twitter because,
to be frank, you’d prefer not to hear a thing.

on this side of the ayalon; north of the yarkon
we’re been practising, pretending it’s all fine.
come saturday we’ll be stretching out on towels
along the dead sea. facing the sun,
floating under the sound of everything.


testimony blinks into view
forming itself around colour.

at the end of sleep, sight returns,
sheathed in hospital gown:

a washed-out papier-mâché
grade school diorama mess.

welcome back, someone yells
no, leave it on, i’m not ready —

i think i’m saying. the mouth
moves, yes, tongue flattening

into speech. three spots of light
writhe where a face should be.

there’s a hymn i sung once:
some soft, makeshift hope
in an emptying light.

Dana JP: "I am a postgraduate student in Singapore. I spend most of my free time running, hiking, and writing."

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