“We Protect the Weak” by Kimberly Campanello

We Protect the Weak

We protect the weak and call it love or ethics.
For the safety of our students this door
must remain closed at all times. Ani yalda tova. I am a good girl,
I tell the Israeli jeweler who is impressed with my Hebrew.
Someone nearby says, Fuck Israel. I offer, I am a bad girl. Ani yalda ra.

To dance is a kind of paralysis. Muscles contract
in a certain way and we call it beautiful.
The men on the beach made me think
they were dancing tango, but instead one
was helping the other will his feet to remember

walking. If I had withered hands and always gave you
your pen with my teeth would you think it beautiful?
For the continued safety of our money
these checkpoints must remain closed
at all times. For the quality of our progeny these legs

must remain closed at all times. These minds.
This mouth. This heart. Why don’t you substitute
your for these and this? See how it feels. Ani yalda ra.
Feel that. Feel me feel you. Tell me I’m good
and bad. Tova and Ra. Let us be both…

© Kimberly Campanello

Kimberly will be reading at the  National Concert Hall, on Thursday, December 6th 2012. Kimberly will be read her poems on the sheela-na-gigs in Strange Country, a new work by composer Benjamin Dwyer for uilleann pipes, tape, and poetry. More information and booking details can be found at www.nch.ie.

We Protect the Weak was previously published in the pamphlet, Spinning Cities (Wurm Press, 2011). Kimberly read this poem at Catechism, Readings for Pussy Riot, in Dublin.


Kimberly Campanello was born in Elkhart, Indiana. She now lives in Dublin and London. She was the featured poet in the Summer 2010 issue of The Stinging Fly, and her pamphlet Spinning Cities was published by Wurm Press in 2011 . Her poems have appeared in magazines in the US, UK, and Ireland, including  nthposition , Burning Bush II, Abridged , and The Irish Left Review .

Pic by Brian Kavanagh

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