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by Jeffrey Burghauser
For Israeli Independence Day, 2021
Maneuvering through disarray & heat,
I neared the Hammurabi-grey,
Disheveled Tahana HaMerkazit*
To catch the bus to Haifa Bay.
Back then, the Second Intifada bound
The town to measures none begrudged:
As I approached the entryway, I found
A soldier placed amid a smudged,
Unplanned cement geometry.
Serenely stoned on all the fumes of spring,
On youth, on being near the source
Of sentimental songs (of everything),
He tossed me a contented, hoarse
Fraternal sigh. And having sung the crass
Refrain of Clio’s lullaby
(“Are you a Jew?”), permitted me to pass
Sans further question after I
Responded jauntily: “Of course!”
So many years ago! One hopes the boy
Has prospered, having sired heirs
Prepared, not just to take, but to enjoy
Possession of his Kevlar prayers
And psalm-shaped shells. The Truly Wise demand,
Though softly: Let a people be
A PEOPLE. Scholars cannot understand,
For it’s a simple poetry:
The poetry of MINE & THEIRS.