Unless you want eyes to somersault backwards
avoid tiresome clichés: no bulldozers, no olive trees,
no Deir Yassin.
Avoid phrases marked Highly Flammable
starting with A: annexation, apartheid.
Likewise ethnic cleansing, human rights,
international law, settler-colonial, so on so forth.
Don’t belabor the past. That 3500-year-old relief
archeologists destroyed in Tiberias — gone is gone.
Same for those four soccer cousins killed
which — already stated — was unintentional
unfortunate regrettable accidental pick one.
And don’t don’t reference the Shoah or compare
right to German citizenship / Right of Return,
compensation for business there / here,
or artwork books homes still held hostage,
or any other parallels or goose and gander.
And don’t! even imagine a sentence
that holds the words Jews and pogrom
where Jews is the subject not object.
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Susan Eisenberg — poet, visual artist, and oral historian — is a Resident Scholar at the Brandeis Women’s Studies Research Center where she directs the On Equal Terms Project focused on employment equity. A recipient of the 2023 Joe Hill Award, she is poetry editor of Labor, and her most recent poetry book is Stanley’s Girl (Cornell) and most recent art installation exhibition was at the AFL-CIO in Washington DC.
Photo credit: Estelle Disch