The Shooter from Bitunya Speaks*

In the third grade
Liam stood on the top of the playtoy and
Told the class my arms were skinny and
Looked like like a girl’s, like Talia’s, and
The next week I pushed his chest and
He pushed me back and
I fell down and
couldn’t help it
started to whimper and
He laughed and
I have this gun now

In the 10th grade
My father had friends over one Saturday like usual but
This time they drank whiskey not beer and spoke but
In voices I didn’t recognize about their war versus ours but
My father didn’t know I could hear them from the kitchen but
No he said he can’t fight but
He’ll wash dishes or sort files
Or maybe he knew but
I have this gun now

In our training they told us of danger and
Of the enemy and his culture and our orders but
They didn’t tell us of boredom so thick it rips the threads of your skull and
Of the night in which the guys came at me and
Told me I had to eat five packets of chocolate in one minute but
I couldn’t help it I did whimper but couldn’t fight
They told us about being heroes and
They didn’t tell us what that means so
I have this gun now


Note: This is a piece of poetic fiction. No name in this piece is real, and no part of this piece should be understood as anything other than my opinion. With that, it is a response- perhaps an attempt to understand- real events, not on the level of who or when or where, but rather how and why: I wrote this as I read about (and watched on video) the shooting of two Palestinian teenagers in Bitunya on Nakba Day in mid-May.