Sha’ar Ephraim/Sha’ar Shechem (Damascus Gate)
for Hadas Malka and Hadar Cohen, z’l
I sensed a Devorah—perhaps a Yael?—safeguarding
the crenellated, north-facing gate of a city old
and past tired of the slain and bloodstained in its midst.
Maybe it was Judith, after all, incarnated
and uniformed with camouflage face paint,
armed and present in the epicenter of mayhem,
a multi-tiered stage for the villainy of terrorism
to play out against the backdrop of Jerusalem stone.
You were not stationed atop the parapets looking down
on the horde, but stood out in the open
on the front lines of fate, undeterred
by the duteous Angel of Death
who routinely threatened to visit unannounced.
Neither did you slumber, nor did you sleep,
when duty’s call came, when the hour was nigh.
Heroine, thank you for what you did for me,
did for all of us, for your service courageous,
your commitment to our nation, to its security,
displayed every time you donned the grey drabs
and patrolled alleyways and lanes, corridors and steps,
stalked by peril around each corner.
May archangels salute you and bow their heads;
may God discard His schedule
to embrace you at the utmost gate.