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Perhaps like you, I’ve been preoccupied this week with the terrible events in Israel-Gaza. Please accept this new poem as a gesture of shared grief and, yes, despite everything, shared hope. Always hope. Like a tendril shooting up out of rock.


Phyllis Cole-Dai

On the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas War, October 2023

They are launching rockets again
They are blowing up homes again
They are taking hostages again
They are committing atrocities again
They are cutting off food, water, and power again
They are filling the world’s screens again
       with mounds of rubble and twisted metal

They are running for their lives again
They are hunkering down in basements and bunkers again
They are sheltering where they are not safe again
       on both sides of the border wall

They are searching for the missing again
They are collecting hair from combs again
They are wrapping the dead and digging graves again
They are wailing and shaking fists at the heavens again
       from cemeteries cratered by bombs

May they soon be exhausted by their fighting again
May they collapse like children in sleep again
May they begin to dream again
       of breaking bread with friends again
       of dancing and singing songs again
       of laughing from the belly again
       of making love and babies again
       of speaking a hallowed tongue again
              that has no words for
                            occupy   terrorize   enemy   war

May they be safe in their deep, hungry sleep again
May they have what they need to wake again
       red-faced and crying for breath
              reaching blindly for love
                     as if they have just been born

Photo by McKenna Phillips on Unsplash
Phyllis Cole-Dai

Phyllis Cole-Dai has authored or edited eleven books in multiple genres, including historical fiction, spiritual nonfiction and poetry. She lives in Brookings, South Dakota, USA.

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