by Mary Abi-Karam

my parents grew up 

in a small town called 


where the song of the beach 

could be heard across every enclave 

the kids spent their evenings 

picking sour olives from the same vines

that their great-grandparents 

grew when they were young 

in a backyard that great-great-grandparents

built when they were young 

the families spent their mornings 

hiking with the ancestral Cedars 

over 1000 years old 

that are meek and plentiful  with fruits of phoenician history

my mother would wake at dawn 

to the call of God 

coming from the bell tower 

and the chanting nuns 

in the monastery 

when my parents were eight, 

the country became amassed 

with a patriotic fervor 

as militias plunged the state 

into a civil war 

this is when the bombs began to rain down:

buildings crumbled 

under the weight of explosives 

and the country crumbled under

under the weight of political


and when the smoke finally blew away 

standing glorious with outstretched arms protecting the spirits of those who founded this land great

lumbering bodies of emerald pine 

were the Cedars