Photo Credit: Israel Defence Forces

Above the crater

By Kaila Shabat

A direct hit!

Their home demolished

by a barrage of rockets

launched at their sleepy town

in central Israel. Amid the ruins

neighbors offer solace.

Indeed, no graveside elegies ensue

from this violent onslaught

but the content of their lives –

their tangible history – is buried

in the swirling dust of the crater

that was their home.

Papa’s paintings are effaced

from the living-room walls;

Grandma’s tomes of Yiddish poetry

surely lost their shot at posterity.

Manuscripts skim cyber-space

but what of the work in progress?

Grandchildren will never romp

in the nursery they fixed up for them;

wiped out, too, is the attic room,

a shrine to their son, who fell in Gaza.

Past and future embedded in the debris,

but where will they lay their heads tonight?

Nothing remains of the lush lawn;

a single fruit clings to a broken bough,

survivor of the lemon tree’s abundance.

Even the turtledoves have deserted.

their personal Garden of Eden, now obliterated from the face of the earth.

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margaret graham
Wonderful poem. Heartfelt.

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About the author

Katherine (Kaila) Shabat

Kaila Shabat, nee Katherine Rubin was born in London in 1947, and later studied languages in Europe. She arrived in Israel in 1967 as a volunteer after the Six-Day War. Her first book of poetry, &l...

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