Poem from a participant in the Interfaith Peace-Builder’s Fall 2017 Tour:

The Reality of a Dream Called Zion   |   Simi Toledano Brooklyn, New York

The reality of a dream called Zion is
standing on the concrete island between east and west Jerusalem,
waiting for the light to turn green.

I stand and wait
and read a sticker that says
“I am my ancestors’
wildest dream.”

I look down at my feet
straddling a city segregated
and wonder why, then, do I feel like their
worst nightmare?

I once joined my ancestors in the desert
and danced for them while they dreamed and reached toward Zion.

I pulled love up from the center of the earth, our mother, whose dream we all inhabit,
and with the story of my flesh and hair reminded them of the justice they promised me with my first breath.

Offended by my immodesty,
the men
turned their backs and kept dreaming.

I danced harder.

Not so that they would turn back around and
see me
but so that the women would
feel me.

Because when the dream of the fathers don’t include justice for the mothers,
we all stand and wait for the light to turn green.

From the concrete island between East and West Jerusalem,
still waiting for the light,
I felt the ground rumble and saw a sea of women

in red

appear and unite
from all directions.

They moved and stomped and shattered the earth’s concrete ceiling,
liberating her and her people,
the Palestinians, the Bedouins and Arabs

Now rising from the fire and rubble to lead the children home.

Occupied with love and joy,
They twirled their bodies around the rhythmic wind and smoke,
launching their tears to the heavens,
who returned the favor with rain.

The women danced harder.

Not to defend against the downpour but to exalt in the fertile freedom of justice.

The women, who remember what is forgotten.
The women, who refuse to wait.
The women, who are returning from exile.

I dug my toes in the moist sand and remembered the power I was given at birth.

Joining the women as they approached, I took the steadfast hand of an elder,
whose brown face was framed by a crimson scarf.

She tugged my hand and pulled me down to meet her eternal eyes.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d meet you here,” she confessed.
I tasted salt water between my lips and kissed her soft cheek.

I felt a small hand slip into mine and saw a girl in velvet next to me.

Our fingers now entwined,
as our stories always have been,
she looked up with glittering eyes and urged,

“Come, let’s go play,
the light has turned green.”



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