A little lamb with wavy hair—
the photo on screens for fifty days. Men
in black balaclavas, guns
exploding, had swarmed her farm, killed
her father. Trying to protect, he fell
on her. She wore his blood
when she crawled away. Inside
the house, her mother’s corpse
already turning. Avigail knew to run to the neighbors’,
but all were trucked to a dark labyrinth
below Gaza’s dusty ground. Down, down the masks
took her. She couldn’t breathe. She wanted
her father’s hand. It was the moment she learned
what “dead” meant. She was three.
Oh, Avigail! How did your captors stop
your crying? With a needle in your little arm
to knock you out, like on Netflix? No bath for fifty days.
Swarming her curls—lice.
About the Poem
I was melted by the photo of this little girl I kept seeing on the news while Hamas held her captive for 50 days. Imagining what had happened to her–how her innocence was taken from her, her life twisted, perhaps forever—I wrote this poem. And I decided to push all the margins to the far right to signify the finality of her experience, also because Hebrew is written from right to left.
Note from the editor: The poem’s title and the author’s name should also appear far right but because of the formatting consistency across this webzine, those have been left-aligned.
About the Author
Jacqueline Coleman-Fried is a poet living in Tuckahoe, NY. Her work has appeared in Topical Poetry, New Verse News, Consequence, The Orchards Poetry Journal, Sparks of Calliope, and soon, HerWords Magazine.