The Fallen Protester's Song

by Mohja Kahf

Mohja Kahf

These last few days were the most beautiful
I ever lived, my friends. For the first time
in our lives spent under martial law,
we took the secret freedom we'd been eating
out of the hidden cupboard, and ate it openly.
Then we took it right outside like melting ice cream
and started giving it away. To anyone.
After that, we were free.
I don't know how to explain to those who haven't tasted it.
Imagine an entire country with a calcium deficiency,
long-term, and everybody shrinks, but no one notices.
People smelled the free on us, like win on a horse, and loved us,
gave us secret bits of their food wrapped in warm bread,
beginning to free themselves, so that one day
the inside and the outside of people
will no longer be split bloody trembling down the middle,
like I was by the bullet spray of soldiers sent to shoot us,
then by the state's torture-doctors. They cut my insides out,
trying to find the freedom and extract it surgically.
That's what they do, those who have lost half
their humanity, they try to make half-humans out of everyone.
My friends, you are heaving a giant iron shelf,
off the limbs of people whose bones it crushes.
Soon it will yield to the weight of all your shoulders.
Remember me when that happens.
We worked for it together.
You were as ready to die for it as I was,
but it happened to be me. So when you write a word
on a wall for all to see
and it doesn't have to be in code,
and no one breaks the hand that drew it,
when freedom is no longer treated like a narcotic,
dosed in hidden little baggies only for the few,
but becomes like photosynthesis in plants,
processing light in every leaf,
when everyone can be openly free,
when freedom falls like a deliverance rain,
then, my friends, remember me.

Last updated June 28, 2015