With names from Russia, Ethiopia, the Bedouin desert
Killed in defense of their homeland
By invaders moving through earthen tunnels
Shining ebony soldiers
Broad arched Levantine browed fighters
Lithe Maghreb warriors
Blue eyed troops
Names from Leningrad, Bagdad, Teheran
Their parents and grandparents followed a biblical dream
Or landed with a suitcase and a foreign language.
To die in Gaza by the gun of teenage assailant
Dmitri. Moshe. Max.
Youths, their eyes illuminated with vision, commitment, pride
No longer rounded up, barefoot, comically draped with black and white prayer shawls for the amusement of tormentors, then shot, to fall beside the bodies already fallen
No longer expelled from ancestral homes
Now, surrounded by tanks, and planes, and brothers carrying his nation’s ensign
But oh, their faces
Their bare, handsome faces
Sons. Brothers. Husbands. Fathers.
THEIR FACES was previously published on chabad.org.