Boys on a beach,
women with cookpots,
men bombing tender patches of mint.
There is no righteous position.
Only a place where brown feet
touch the earth.
Maybe you call it yours.
Maybe someone else runs it.
What do you prefer?
We who are far
stagger under the mind blade.
My friend in Bethlehem says,
Pious myth-building and criminal behavior,
Every shattered home,
every shattered story worth telling.
Think how much you’d need to say
if that were your kid.
If one of your people
equals hundreds of ours,
what does that say about people?
Naomi Shihab Nye, born to a Palestinian father and American mother, is a poet, novelist, and anthologist of more than 30 volumes. Her newest book is The Turtle of Oman.