Amanda Bradley

The Night Van

This is the night van, running to the border
bringing with the cookies and the pizza order.
Loaded up with tzitzis and tefillin from chabad;
music plays loud from the Breslev bus.
Over the hills and into the downs,
past yishuvim and negev towns,
eating up kilometers of desert sands,
fruitful farms and desolate lands.
Camels raise their heads as it approaches,
chewing their cud with long reproaches.
Qassamim cannot turn her course;
they scream over as she drives across.
On the kibbutz it passes they’re all awake,
and the ground beneath them gently shakes.


After sunset, the fast is done,
down towards Israel rockets descend.
Towards the children playing in their rooms,
towards the farmers wishing they could tend their flocks, their crops
abandoned in the fields like forgotten weeds.
The Iron Dome awaits them.
In the South, beside the brown-beige sands,
Soldiers wait for news.


— With apologies to W. H. Auden

About the Author
Amanda is professional writer who just loves words. She's also an experienced Jewish educator and amateur mother, with a fascination with convergence and a tendency to wield sarcasm and irony when vexed.