When The Slaughter Stops In Gaza

Caitlin Johnstone
3 min readFeb 27, 2024

Listen to a reading by Caitlin Johnstone:

When the slaughter stops in Gaza
I will get to those cobwebs, promise,
and water that monstera,
and clean out that goo in the fridge.

When the slaughter stops in Gaza
I will youtube how to grow strawberries,
and whether dinosaurs ever had feathers,
and what’s the deal with hibachis —
is it something to do with fondue?

When the slaughter stops in Gaza
I will brush my hair out finally,
and call my Mum god bless her
and make her a perfect lasagna —
no, two; I’ll make one for freezing,
and I’ll give Dad back his drill.

When the slaughter stops in Gaza
I will teach myself ‘Nightswimming’,
and do a drawing of that face
that I took a pic of with my camera
in that packed tram in peak-hour
Back Before All This Happened,
and I’ll make some kind of cake.

When the slaughter stops in Gaza
I will sit with my love in our camp chairs,
our fingers entwined with our heart strings,
kicking coals awake til magpies
chortle “oh boy are you guys still up?”
and then I’ll let him give me an orgasm —
the kind that rips through veils.

When the slaughter stops in Gaza
I’ll have my friend for dinner,
and we can watch her vampire show
and talk about her Dad
who died seven millennia and three lives ago
in September of 2023.

And we will lay upon the couch
our teeth stained black with wine,
and we will giggle about dumb things,
and one of us will fart
and the other will fall off the couch,
and it will be good and kind and sweet,
and not once will we see dead babies
or kids ripped from their mums,
or servicemen lit on fire
screaming “Free Palestine, FREE PALESTINE!”
and have our hearts thump in our mouths,
teeth clacking like a piano,
nails digging into flesh,
because everything is awful
and nothing makes sense,
and those men are so horrible,
and why won’t they stop them
and why won’t they stop them
and why won’t they stop
why won’t they stop

But until then, I will roll out of bed,
do a chore and eat a thing,
brush my teeth and drink some water
thump my chest and howl in sorrow
hug my babies, sniff their hair,
and get back in the fight.


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