Peace Match

The author and her friend march together
Red, green, black, and white –
that sea of colors,
in waves around me.
Not my blue and white,
star and stripes.

Hands clasped,
We march together,
holding our signs –
one in her language,
one in mine –
of peace and hope.

“But what are they chanting?”
I ask.
Her answer: “Do you trust me?”
My answer: “I do.”

Mom’s voice in my head:
“Who’s side are you on, anyway?”

Those same words
my son uttered
after the soccer match.
His soccer match.
His team (in blue on white),
against the other (in red, black, and green – on white).

The signs above the gates –
Arabic curves and Hebrew shapes.
Mixed up Mom I am,
entered on the “wrong” side.

boys playing soccer

“Can I help you find your team’s side?”
the man asked
(in accented Hebrew).
“No. I’m fine here,” I answered
(in accented Arabic).

The view was good,
the company, fine.
Besides, I was tired.
Exhausted, really.
From it all.
From all the sides.

Excitement on the field:
a man in red, and black and green
– on white,
so fast he was a blur.
And then he was down,
head in hands.

Fathers yelling,
mothers in tears,
around me.
“Poor kid,” I said to myself,
but aloud,
“It was so close.”

My son all smiles
as he got in the car.
I shared sympathy
for the man in red, black, and green –
on white,
head in his hands.

“You just don’t get it,”
My blue (on white) son said.
I looked up at the sign
for a sign
as we drove away.

Peace Stadium
“No I don’t,” was my answer.

“I trust you, too,” my friend says,
squeezing my hand.
And I believe her,
as I march with her colors.
Next time she’ll march
with mine.

I look up for a sign.
and there it is:

A rainbow
of blue, black, red, and green
on a cloud of white.
A crescent across the sky.
Hugging one single
blue Star
Of David.

“On the side of humanity, Mom!”
I answer.
“And hope.”
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