Poem: Mothers of the Undisposessed

Mommy, have you seen my soul? I think I lost it

I was playing soldier and my friend was playing Arab and I shot him dead with my toy gun

BANG BANG BANG

Afterwards you told me I was a good boy and that Arabs want to kill me so I have to kill them.

I was so afraid I put my toy gun under my pillow, I think my soul dropped somewhere.

I know you’re busy but if you see my soul, let me know? I think I need it.

Mom, have you seen my soul? I think I lost it.

You caught me kissing that girl. I didn’t know that black Jews aren’t real Jews.

You called her a “whore” and other names, and threw things at her as she ran.

I was confused, I think my soul fell when I picked up a rock and threw it in her direction.

I need it Mom, find it for me? Please?

Mom, have you seen my soul? I think I lost it.

You helped me get ready today. My first day as a soldier.

You buttoned my shirt and put the rifle in my hand.

I was at a checkpoint. Someone yelled “knife”

The boy was 14? 15 at most.

BANG

BANG

BANG

BANG

BANG

BANG

BANG

BANG

BANG

BANG

BANG

I don’t remember how many, I remember someone giving me a knife. I put it in the boy’s dying hands and took pictures

It was chaos, we were laughing, why were we laughing?

I guess it doesn’t matter. Like you always say, “A good Arab is a dead Arab.”

I was confused. I must have lost my soul somewhere. I can’t find it. Mom, can you help me?

Mom, have you seen my soul? I think I lost it.

I know I’m older now, but I still need your help.

With my promotion, my wife, and my sons playing soldier in the settlement, life is hectic

“BANG BANG! Dead Arab!” says your grandson.

Just like Daddy. I know you’re proud, Mom!

I can’t find my soul in all this.

I work nights. I go to houses and I break the door down.

I grab a child from his bed and put a hood over his head.

His mother is screaming, “Where is your soul?”

I can’t tell her I lost it somewhere, it would look unprofessional

I was so groggy.

I hadn’t been able to sleep

I could hear screams and see blood every time I close my eyes.

There was the sharp pain of vengeance.

Mom, have you seen my soul? I don’t need it any more but maybe you can put it to use somehow.

Maybe it’s in the same place you lost yours.

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