Worlds Between Us (Poem)


Worlds Between Us 

The paralyzed exile puts to words the heaviness of heart.

Stomach coiled, breath tight.

This pen bleeds pain.


Faces appear.

Ashy, burnt, butchered.

Stained red, wet from grief.

Some, slit from bodies, I cannot see.

Instead, lonely limbs.


From worlds away,

Piercing gazes.

They watch, wait.

I try to think as they would.

They ask as I do,

What have I done to help their children,

Their daughters,

Their sons?


We agree:

Not enough.


Betrayed by my distance,

They ask, ‘Child of diaspora,

Have you forgotten us, your people?’


I tell them I’m sorry,

But sorry doesn’t liberate.

Protested bullets still penetrate.

Flags and wooden walls don’t shield from bombs,

Symbolic votes don’t lift sieges,

And phone calls don’t dismantle human cages.


Maybe we’ll agree on patience,

But patience can’t keep up with genocide.


Would I share with them these words from a colonized tongue?

No, I think.

I couldn’t bare the shame.


I wonder if fallen children read over my shoulder.

I wonder if they watch, wait.

I try to think as they would.

They ask as I do,

What have I done to help their parents,

Their brothers,

Their sisters?


We agree:

Not enough.


They know I paid for their terror.

Maybe they feel my remorse,

All I feel is their blood on my hands.

Maybe they feel that I love them,

All I feel is the distance that kept us from meeting.

Maybe they feel my longing for home,

All I feel is the vacant space between them and their extermination,

Too late now to fill.


I hope they’ll ask me not to mourn their new freedom.

Then I’ll know they’ve learned peace.

I’ll still grieve.

Peaceful living comes only after death.


I tell them I’m sorry.

They accept from merciful refuge.

I do not.

-Maram Kamal

Maram is a Palestinian student and storyteller. Based in Los Angeles, she tweets here.


  1. Absolutely amazing. What a talented and knowledgable young lady.

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