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.


* Central Station