Naomi Shihab Nye

Jerusalem’s Smile

My father speaks from the heaven we don’t believe in

Assign nothing to Jerusalem

Who is that man pretending power

over my stones?

No one with guns will ever own me

Cobbled stones feel my smile

Kingdom of heaven set into sunrise

Layers of giant time

They hold so many feet

tromping daily for centuries

all those bowed heads

folded hands secret glories     are part of me

See how the man of power stands at a podium    imagining

he can say who I am    where I belong in the

constellation of cities    

trust me

I last longer than he does

shabbiest vendor

belonging to air

“Jerusalem’s Smile” appears in The Tiny Journalist (BOA Editions, Ltd., 2019)


Photo of Naomi Shihab Nye leaning against a light tan wall. Nye is wearing a blue collar shirt and is smiling at the camera.

Palestinian-American poet Naomi Shihab Nye’s forthcoming book is Grace Notes: Poems About Families. “Jerusalem’s Smile” appears in The Tiny Journalist (BOA Editions, Ltd., 2019). [provided November 2023]

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