Sarit Steinfeld

I wanted to give you a name

Some poems take minutes and some days. This one has taken me weeks. I kept changing the ending. A part of me feels like I’ll be writing this forever, because I will never understand.

I needed to give you a different name
Because it seemed as though
we’re not all made the same

At first I thought of
Barbaric Animals
Because of the way you prowled the fields
Like predators looking for your next kill
Not stopping until
You got every last one still breathing
But animals are pure instinct
That’s what makes us distinct
Isn’t it?
So no matter how much I fought with my own mind
I couldn’t liken you to the animal kind
It wouldn’t be fair to them

So then I thought of
Because of the way you crept up
on unsuspecting children in their beds
Then cruelly dismembered babies’ heads
Murdered children in front of their mothers
Or dragged them into captivity with their little brothers
But monsters are pure imagination
So after much examination
I realized you were all too real
During that horrific ordeal
So I couldn’t liken you to monsters
It wouldn’t be fair to them

And then I landed on
I had so many good reasons,
Your mission was to bring hell to earth
Allow yourself a kind of evil rebirth
The way you threw grenades into packed rooms
Then cheerfully welcomed their fiery booms
That would rip off an arm or a leg
And waited to hear the people cry and beg
The name seemed so fitting
Yet after much internal digging
I couldn’t ignore that I imagined
Satan himself was judging you from hell
And I was so confused, can you tell?
At last, I had to conclude, what I thought was true
That even they wouldn’t collude with the lot of you
So I couldn’t liken you to demons
It wouldn’t be fair to them.

How my mind raced
How much I paced
I tossed and turned late into the night
Sitting up and turning on the light
As I went through my whole name list
Among which were sociopaths, rabid dogs, soulless creatures…you get the gist

And in the end
I wondered, do I even have a choice?
As I finally whispered
in a pained and tortured voice
And called you

You should’ve heard my anger and profanity
Thinking about how it’s the root word for humanity
You, human?
You who took:
bonfires and made them burn
rainbows and made them storm
a child and made him cry
a woman with life inside her and made her die

How could I possibly call you Human?
Yet, it felt necessary
Because when it’s your time
To confess your heinous crime
Like Eichmann before you,
You too
Shall stand trial
and pay like a man with bile
In his throat
as he chokes at the rope
Because that’s what you deserve
When you mutilate children in front of their parents
Destroy generations and future descendants
Rape and murder and kidnap with thrill
As you employed all of your free will
You used yours to kill.

Free will, isn’t that what makes us human after all?
Causing some of us to rise and some of us to fall
Without being human, you could make the case
“I’m an animal, a monster, a demon, so you have no base
from which to judge me”
It was difficult, but as you can see
Calling you Human seemed so absolute
I was determined and resolute.
But then, I sighed.

I couldn’t
My heart
My mind
My soul

You simply brought the world too much pain
The horrors you inflicted, you considered a gain
I want to believe that humans are innately good and pure
But I saw no sign of that in you
So at last, I vowed, I will never give you Human as a name
Perhaps we truly aren’t all made the same.

You shall remain nameless.
In the same way that you were heartless.
Not Human, not Animal, not Monster, not even Demon
You are nothing.

About the Author
Sarit was born in Israel and grew up in Toronto. She obtained a Masters in Public Policy and worked as a Policy Advisor for the Ontario government. In 2019, Sarit moved to Israel with her husband and baby boy (they now also have a little sabra). Within a year of their move, Sarit became a writer for high-tech, and her husband became a chef. She no longer cooks. You can follow their journey on Instagram (