When you stole the house you had a dream

Amanda Gelender 🔮
4 min readJan 21, 2024
Pomegranates growing on a tree, with the sun and sky in the background.
Pomegranates growing in the sun

When you stole the house you had a dream
Was it beautiful, then? In your mind’s eye?

You dreamed of tilling someone else’s soil,
Walking through someone else’s cherished Eden
Sinking your teeth into plucked and looted oranges

I can see how your eyes sparkled
Dreaming of a Jewish national oasis
Fields bursting with bounty
Birthed in rivers of Palestinian blood

You wanted to carve out safety
No matter who you had to kill
To pretend it was your well (poisoned)
your land (seized)
and your sea (blocked)

But you are a stranger to this place
The trees don’t know you, and they’ve swayed in the wind for generations

Cruising on segregated roads, you whiz past military checkpoints
A European refugee turned fascist overseer
Jewish colonial dreams backed by western imperial guns
Raising flower beds and families on mass indigenous graves

When you stole the house you had a dream
But to her, it was just a bullet to the back of the head
To him, a kidnapped child
To them, a trail of tears
To his parents, it was exile
Life snuffed out and rendered to a tent

But for you — Arrival.
Fresh starts in freshly ethnically cleansed land
Kibbutzim stockpiled with guns, poised for manifest destiny
Fresh water gushing onto stolen crops as Palestine perishes from thirst

Did you light the Shabbos candles the night you lit the villages on fire?
Did you pray to G-d before you unleashed the terror squads?
Did you watch the embers fly from your window,
your burnt soul dancing in the wind during Shabbos prayer?

G-d laughs at your hypocrisy, your fascist cowardice
Pray to your ego, worship death, squat on soil
Carry water for empire, be a sadist for the state
You press a knife to the neck of the Torah and try to kill her, too
No one is safe from an abuser like you

Settle down, Palestine
Why are you so upset?

Lock her in the basement
Build a higher wall
She reminds me of rotting flesh
And her ruins ruin my sea view

But Palestine sees you anyway — enduring and steadfast
Palestine flies over, climbs under, and moves through you
Eternal, ineffable, key in hand, ready to return

Was dinner still warm on the table
the night you stole the house full of dreams?
There are ghosts in the kitchen now you know,
I can hear them creak beneath floorboards

They watch you eat pilfered food
And they reclaim the house you stole crumb by crumb,
Building tunnels beneath your sweet, crumbling settler life

Your Jewish national dream is a Palestinian nightmare
Hang the mezuzah, hang your shawl
Carve our sacred star into the captives’ face
Make him remember it was us, the chosen ones,
who wrung life from his neck

It’s your home now, take a breath, settler
Take a breath, a life, a million more
Settle your soul for awhile
Let bombing be a balm for your crushed spirit
Smear your ancestral pain on Palestine’s face, pretend she doesn’t mind

But the olive trees remember
And so do the birds
Every drop of water in the well recalls who poisoned them
Even the earthworms know it was you

Palestine is coming back, can you hear her footsteps approaching the door?The poppies perk up to greet her
The sea waves lap her up
She’s returning home from exile to reclaim what is hers

Get up from your stolen chair
Pack your pilfered things
Take your rifle, your flag, and your audacity, too

Even the wind remembers when you blasted it with bombs
Praying to the wall that wails for Palestine
The entire earth wants you off the land, settler
We want Palestine back, to welcome her home and greet her hello

There was a dream here, once
Before you came
Children laughing and running through sun-drenched living rooms
Pomegranates gifted to outstretched hands from bending tree branches

Palestine was here first and you know it.
Written in indelible ink
She and only she can make the desert bloom
You have to kill to stay here so you know it isn’t yours
Palestine will always haunt your unsettled settler dreams

You can try to sweep her under the rug
Say that the ends justify the means
But you are a monster, Zionism.
You are a genocide, Israel.
It’s over, settler — leave.

The wake up call comes at the crack of dawn
The nightmare is over, sunlight bursts through the wall
And Palestine finally returns home.

Amanda Gelender is an anti-zionist, Jewish American woman. She has been part of the Palestinian solidarity movement since 2006.

twitter: @agelender | instagram: @agelender

--

--

Amanda Gelender 🔮

🪐 Jewish queer anti-zionist 🇵🇸 TV/film, abolition, plant medicine 🍄 Writer | Poet 🌙 linktr.ee/agelender