Searching For Our Stolen Sons

For Eyal, Gilad, Naftali, and Mohammed-among the children killed in the summer, 2014

Dogs slither near the dumpster, fur
rippling in the half-light
of a moon that rests, golden,

on the tips of hills. A voice
crippled with hormones, braces,
the burden of its first salty sweat,

cries  Hashem, Hashem, why
have you forsaken me? Looted,
lonely, a mother lighting candles,

the glow imprisoned
in her grip, the earth fixed
to its axis, reeling into a honeyed night,

calls, Hashem, and the call bounces
from rocky hill to hill, side
to side, down the dark wadi.

A Friday-night candle for each
child, but where are our boys,
those still broken-voiced and raw?  

Only a dry riverbed. Only a broken
connection, a charcoaled Hyundai
and no one left

to claim the theft. In Sodom
a mother could give her life
in a single, backward glance,

her arms stretched toward a dead
sea, her body turning slowly to salt,
stitched inch by inch

to the cliffs above the city. Salt
in her palms, salt on her tongue
she calls, Why

have you forsaken me? Staring back
as the city burns, but what does she see? Not
her own empty windows. Not

her silver candlesticks melting
in the flames. She searches
for her abducted sons,

those stolen and held
by the King of Og. Or perhaps
she’s watching those two young girls

lashed to the city walls, naked,
their bodies slathered
with honey and left for the bees,

venom sweetening their flesh
to death, tears seared to crystals
on their honeyed cheeks. Because

this is Sodom, young girls used
for every perversion, young boys
held face down at gunpoint, pulled

from cars and burned alive.
A cell phone message
says, We’ve been kidnapped,

says forsaken, says desolate,
says alone. The congregation holds a grace
note. Hashem, Hashem, my body

bruised, my eyes soft, my neck
sliced ear to ear, my blood bright
as honey on your lips, my torn seed

salted and soaked. God,
who commanded me on this day,
gave me purity in its season, gathers

my soul into the palms
of his hands, and dashes it
to the rocks below. Lay

us down, please, lay us
down, down on our backs
as the moon turns

from honey to silk,
as the dogs scurry away
from the boys in the city. A bitter

night. A pillar of salt. Black
dogs. Lost boys. Come home,
we call, Come home.

Crab Orchard Review. Vol. 21 (2017)