A Question of Friendship

Yvette Neisser Moreno

Something tender about skin
and muscle framed by ancient stone.

The pyramids behind us in silhouette,
solid, rooted, entirely diagonal.

The night deepened,
the city’s glimmer distant.

Fadi drew on his smoke.
Do you support Israel?

I took a deep breath,
listened to the desert hum,

felt the weight of silence.
Would the night weave my love

for Israel and Palestine
into some kind of logic?

I hoped the truth would be enough.
Yes, and the Palestinian cause.

Time stopped ticking
as I waited for an answer:

his half-smoked cigarette
flung from mouth to sand,

that flick of the wrist,
straightening of the elbow,

and the glint of that tiny fire
shimmering against the darkness.

Alright, he said.

We walked on into the long night,
wending down an unmarked path.

Yvette Neisser Moreno, a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus, is a Jewish-American poet and translator whose work has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, including The International Poetry Review, Palestine-Israel Journal, Poetic Voices Without Borders, and Virginia Quarterly Review. A former program associate with Search for Common Ground’s Middle East Media Project, she has studied in Jerusalem and Cairo. Currently she teaches at The George Washington University and The Writer’s Center and is an organizer of the Split This Rock Poetry Festival. Melissa Tuckey is the poetry editor for FPIF and a board member of Split This Rock.