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Thursday, July 17, 2014


by Kelly Jadon

A Palestinian laborer in Israel. Image source: Jerusalem Post

he works with his hands
digging, building, construction
tunneling mountains
putting up walls of steel
one week and three hours
away from home
as many men
to feed families in the north

each Sabbath, driving highway
with cash, eggs, vegetables
a smile, a hug, treats for five children
dinner kept warm
chicken with sumac,1 roasted batata2

yet, my brother is late today
we wait
his wife, Nagla, calls his cell
it rings, no answer
two hours
she phones again
and again, no answer
time moves slowly in the East
with God—in His time

finally, the call comes
not my brother—another
his voice, dry as crackers
raspy, hoarse
Nagla screams
unsure, I take the phone

…”your brother, ahhok,4
he was found, hung,
from the 4th story…”

recoiling in shock
my mind recalls
John—who died on Patmos5
Stephen—outside the gate
with stones6
and Peter—who like
my brother,
was taken where he
did not wish to go7

“a nightmare” cries Nagla

our mother tongue
a cousin
my brother’s faith
the world cannot comprehend
for kosmos8 thinks as the Cretans9
and is natural
without Spirit
full of sin

autopsy, three days, Nazareth

we buried him today
within our crypt—
all others pushed aside
making room for his box
the city present—though media
stayed away—left unreported
yet 30,000 saw the truth
of one of the least of these
who came to bid him goodbye
kiss his coffin
scream, cry
this one, my blood, our blood
he is—one of us
the body

his blood, like Abel’s,
cries from the ground beneath
our crypt
covered over with the Blood
of al Messiah10
awaiting the Great White Throne
when bodies rejoin spirit and soul
“Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord.”
Who sees all, knows all
--even, the evil intentions of men
whose wrong thoughts toward murder
led them to believe that
no one is watching


1. sumac—an edible Middle Eastern ground spice
2. batata—Arabic for potato
3. fattoush—a Middle Eastern salad which includes squares of dried or fried pita
4. ahhok—Arabic for brother
5. Patmos—a Greek island in the Aegean Sea, meaning  “my killing”
6. Acts 7:56-60, Bible
7. John 21:18-19, Bible
8.  kosmos—Koine Greek for “the world”
9. Cretans—Koine Greek for those from the Greek island of Crete, meaning “fleshy”
10. al Messiah—Arabic for “the Messiah”

Author' note on the poem: A story that has gone unreported, but just happened a few days ago--to an in-law, in Tel Aviv.

Kelly Jadon is a graduate of Spring Arbor University and holds a degree in English with a concentration on poetry.  She is a teacher, poet, and writer.  Her poem "To Taste The Oil" was recently featured at the University of Colorado "Eye Contact" event as an audible poem.  Her poetry has been published both online and in print in several literary journals. Her poetry book To Taste the Oil: The Flavor of Life in the Middle East was published in June 2014 by Into The Deep Books.