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  • Mai Zaru

One Day....One Day

A fourth-generation Palestinian Quaker and member of Ramallah Friends Meeting, Mai is the author of The Resonance of Our Footsteps and currently studies special education at Brigham Young University.

In a swarming city, she was raised

What she witnessed, you’ll be amazed

For that little girl, violence has paved

A spark of pain, with flashbacks glazed

A wounded soul, and a heart engraved

Torn to pieces, knowing others were enslaved

Opened her hands and slept on a praise

A mother of five, five kids to raise

How can a mother hold strong and stay?

When her only boy was taken away

By vicious souls, where are the light rays?

Humbled herself and continued to pray

Clenched her hand and said, “one day”

One day, he’ll return she continued to say

Not comprehending that her hair turned grey

That there’s no chance he survived the slay

On the table, her hands splay

Her heart, to the light became a doorway

Now a mother of five, with a full moon face

Is a mother, a grandmother, who little kids she chased

Turned her home, into a hospitable place

Where everyone was welcomed at their own pace

It was jammed, like her city with no space

No room left for anything, other than grace

Yes, she was married at a young age

But she found Quakerism in that stage

She saw peace, when others were in rage

She saw freedom, when others focused on the cage

She found simplicity as her path to engage

Where a hymn was harmonized on the next page

A different era, a different scale

For my heart too was built so frail

The suffering of others felt like jail

Where Quakerism too, became my veil

Service oriented is what we entail

For in a path of thorns, we open a trail

I, a 4th generation Quaker raised

In a male dominant society, I have sailed

To understand that those, hands that shake

They tremble for service, uttering “I’m awake”

End a silent worship, with peace and a handshake

For our souls will witness justice, one day…

One day... one day

That day, is today!

In this poem, Mai begins by writing about her great-grandmother and great uncle Hannah (who was among the disappeared) before turning to her grandmother Jean in stanza 5. She ends with her own place within the continuity of history and her identity, focused on service and the pursuit of justice.

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