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Beyond the yellow gate

Beyond the yellow gate

there is a woman.

Her airy black head scarf almost shields her effervescent eyes.

But when she looks up, sky blue bounces off her peasant shirt and into her pupils so they ignite.

She touches my wrist gently as she feels for my pulse.

Ba-boom. Ba-boom. Ba-boom.

.

Beyond the yellow gate

there is a man.

His navy blue striped rugby shirt and acid washed jeans foretell a deep, defiant  voice.

But when his lips part and open wide, out fall directions in a timid, mouse-like squeak.

He guides me — turn left, turn right, and then

straight, straight, straight, always straight.

.

Beyond the yellow gate

there is a building.

A tall, two story white stone building, a dusty green awning greets the afternoon sun

But behind the glass door is woman with a cleft-lip

whose job is to collect, from everyone who enters, 30 shekelim

shosheem shkreem, she says. Ma? Shosheem shkreem.

.

Beyond the yellow gate

there is a town.

A busy town. A bustling town. A restless town.

But living in this town there is Farid and Dr. Haddad and the two girls

in pigtails eating popsicles

slurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrp.

.

Beyond the yellow gate

there are people.

Their faces, weathered or leathery or lean,

are  thumbnail previews of the beauty within.

—-

This poem is one in a series about Kfar Manda, an Arab village three miles down the road from Kibbutz Hannaton, where I live, in the Lower Galilee, Israel.

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