Al-Jalama checkpoint, Palestine

It was like a cattle shed:
A tin roof, open sides,
but filled with men,
not a cow in sight.
Nothing moving in
the heavy, midday heat
save one man clicking the
turnstile entry button, constantly.

He was leaning in
against the gate,
as if his weight
would release the
lock and allow access.
Access to five more turnstiles,
to one unstaffed cubicle,
to windowless corridors,
and, finally, to a booth
where a real human being
would check his I.D.

All this accompanied
by a disembodied voice
over a tannoy, barking
instructions in a
language not his own,
telling him to stand here
and to move there, telling him
to empty his pockets and
to hand over his phone.

All this accompanied
by herds of men and
a handful of women,
each one pressing forwards,
pushing to be processed
through the same faceless
system, to gain entry to a
country which is no
longer their country,
to gain entry to their land
which is not their land.

All this accompanied
by a resignation borne
of being under occupation,
accompanied by an enduring dignity,
despite being subject to
a military regime that is
already fifty years long.