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Sunday, May 23, 2021


by Janet Bowdan

Jac Zagoory Rocket Pen Holder

I forgot what I was going to ask,  
just a question that popped out of my head 
the moment I went into the kitchen, 
and Blair laughed saying I was entitled 
to a day off and maybe so 
but what if this is not the day 
what if this is the day I can write about Israel 
firing back on Gaza, the two women who died 
running for shelter, the military targeting Hamas 
tunnels but bringing down buildings, children 
dying, maybe this is the day I can make them stop 
killing each other if they can only stop— 
the poem that lands on Netanyahu’s breakfast 
so he has to read it, how his vow to make 
Hamas pay “a very heavy price” is a weight 
in his throat; he tries to swallow it down 
with coffee. It is not Hamas who’s paying, 
his orange juice says, his bagel with cream cheese. 
We’re all paying. Make it stop, the poem 
says before it backflips and speeds like a rocket 
to the Hamas leaders: make it stop. And it lights up 
the sky but harms no one. 

Janet Bowdan's poems have appeared in APR, Best American Poetry, The Rewilding Anthology, River Heron Review, and elsewhere. Her chapbook Making Progress came out in 2019 from Finishing Line Press. She lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, with her husband and son (who recently had a zoom bar mitzvah), as well as a cat and a chinchilla.