The Breaking of Bread and Catastrophe: Two poems on Gaza

The breaking of bread

by Janet Sillett

Families queuing for round flat loaves
each morning before dawn 
the struggle for bread

Sharq Bakery in Gaza City bombed late October 2023
in the doorway blood mixes with flour 
the smell of baking lingering in the space that is left

I recall Jewish black bread, caraway studded 
the scent of my grandmother’s house in Salford 1960
reconstruction in flour and yeast


by Janet Sillett

Starved of light
an exodus in slow motion before the rains of a Gazan winter
the memory of dispossession in every stone

I picture the grey Polish landscape of my imagination
lines of people displaced moving
always moving

when people are unnamed 
there is no need for bread

Author’s Note

More than 70 percent of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million have been displaced since 8 October 2023

Up to 2 million Jews fled the pogroms in the Pale of Settlement in Eastern Europe between 1881 and 1914

Janet Sillett

Janet is a socialist who has had poems and short fiction published in a wide variety of magazines and online. She’s a secular anti-zionist Jew.

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