Our Power

It is late, past midnight, when I am called to the house where Imam lived. Her parents
are there, now, and her nine months of Mohammed son. He is still nursing, they say. He
cries through the interview. Imam’s mother weeps quiet and pours me tea, Imam’s father
has blue eyes and rolls me a cigarette; the room is tiny and filled with smoke of Turkish
tobacco and her baby’s terror. She was bringing the child’s papers to a doctor and at
the checkpoint was not allowed through, they say; she argued, they say, and it was
declared that she tried to kill a soldier. Detained at Quedumim, the news said, three years
at least, and the son is still nursing the parents say and I am poured more tea. Can you help us,
they ask, and the boy has no eyelids. Can you help us, they ask, and I remember
the day in Jerusalem, just past sundown, when by Jaffa Gate a man swept grape leaves
from the stone streets and on littered steps a small cat crouched—we went to it, the woman
with small ears and I, and saw that its eyes were sick and crowded with discharge, too weak
to make a sound and she whispered, the woman with small ears and the compassion
of a tall, high God—We ought to find a knife. At once, we ought to slit its throat.
Margaree Little’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, American Poetry Review, New England Review, The Missouri Review, and The Southern Review. She earned her MFA at Warren Wilson College and was a Peter Taylor Fellow at the 2013 Kenyon Review Writers Workshop. Originally from Rhode Island, she lives in Tucson, Arizona. Margaree was named one of six recipients of the 2013 Rona Jaffe Writers Awards, which recognizes “women writers of exceptional talent” with a prize of $30,000 each.