Al Kiddush Hashem

Al Kiddush Hashem(to sanctify His name)
We will climb this last cold hillside
where morning leaves its breath
upon the uncomplaining stones,

its voice of light come just beneath
the sky’s grey arch and arbor.
You will carry my wood to your altar.
Your back is broad, bronzed;
I have come old—have
grown tired of mortality and the bright golden nonsense
of angels.
This Mitzvah is yours: To lie down on this ramshackle altar, to
steady this arm enfeebled with grief that holds a quick death
at your throat.


Never will you utter the smallest sin nor sound.
Your eyes will burn with candescent love
even as I deliver you—even as I fail you—
even as your Mother screams
like something lost below, like some animal left
in the cruelest of traps,
enshrined in a world bright with sorrow.

This Mitzvah is yours: To lie down on this ramshackle altar

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