I Was Someone’s They and They Were Mine

Image credit: by Author

I was they and they were them.
They is so much simpler than a someone.
They this, they that.
They are looking for a reaction.
They are trying to trigger you.
They could not give a shit if you are alive or dead.
They are butchers.
They were high on opiates.
They cut off her foot, his hand.
They bound them together before they struck the match.
They have made the choice, us or them.
They bomb civilians.
They destroy a hospital.
They are buried in the rubble.
They have no bread or water.
They must be rescued immediately.
They may not make it through the night.
They have written their children’s names on their wrists.
They want the aid to enter.
They want the bombing to cease.
They are in tense negotiations.
They are brokering a deal.
They want all hostages released immediately.
They are mad at what the released hostages said.
They want him to resign.
They met with the United Nations.
They were warned not to meet with the United Nations.
They are negotiating their release.
They were murdered in the bombings.
They are relatives.
They are counting the dead, making estimates.
They are a numeric quantity of cadavers.
They identify the burnt cadavers by their dental records.
They are using DNA sampling to determine who they are.
They are covered with fabric before burial.
They are buried in mass graves.
They are in mourning.
They have not slept for weeks.
They are afraid to speak aloud in their own languages.
They tell their children not to speak when they go outside.
They want to be invisible.
They are not at all alike.
They are siblings.
They are being translated.
They are watching different news feeds.
They are seeing different images.
They are in danger.
They didn’t include you in their statement.
They wanted to burn the house down.
They wanted to hear music.
They wanted a place to be.
They wanted to grow vegetables.
They bombed the city center.
They wanted to grow old.
They can’t identify them from ashes.
They are buried beneath concrete.
They want to find their loved ones.
They want to bring them back.
They do not want vengeance in their name.
They want dignity.
They want to be safe.
They have a corrupt and tyrannical government.
They have a corrupt and tyrannical government.
They have disrupted any hopes for peace.
They want us to believe in a them.

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Amy Shimshon-Santo is based in Los Angeles and has immediate family in the Southwest, the Middle East, and South America. Her art and community work nourish inclusive cultural ecologies for planetary justice. She was in Tel Aviv on October 7 supporting an exhibition of her mother’s artwork. Her mother was born in Jerusalem in 1932 in British Mandate Palestine.  www.amyshimshon.com

Photo credit: Daion Chesney


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