Their Faces

Young men

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

Tripoli

Casablanca

Their parents and grandparents followed a biblical dream

Crossed deserts

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

THEIR FACES was previously published on chabad.org.

About the Author
Elaine Rosenberg Miller writes fiction and non-fiction. Her work has appeared in numerous print publications and online sites, domestically and abroad, including JUDISCHE RUNDSCHAU, THE BANGALORE REVIEW, THE FORWARD, THE HUFFINGTON POST and THE JEWISH PRESS. Her book. FISHING IN THE INTERCOASTAL AND OTHER SHORT STORIES will be published by Adelaide Books in 2019.
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