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 You can't be, says a Palestinian Christian
on the first feast day after Ramadan.
So, half-and-half and half-and-half.
He sells glass.
He knows about broken bits, chips.
If you love Jesus you can't love anyone else.
Says he.
At his stall of blue pitchers on the Via Dolorosa, he's sweeping.
The rubbed stones feel holy.
Dusting of powdered sugar across faces of date-stuffed mamool.
This morning we lit the slim white candles which bend over at the waist by noon.
For once the priests weren't fighting in the church for the best spots to stand.
As a boy, my father listened to them fight.
This is partly why he prays in no language but his own.
Why I press my lips to every exception.
A woman opens a window—here and here and here— placing a vase of blue flowers on an orange cloth.
I follow her.
She is making a soup from what she had left in the bowl, the shriveled garlic and bent bean.
She is leaving nothing out.

Poem by Naomi Shihab Nye
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