Saturday, 3 March 2018

Of Blessed Memory – Hallel Yaffa Ariel

by Nanette Rayman

**On June 30, 2016, a nineteen-year-old Palestinian boy stabbed Hallel Yaffa Ariel, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl to death in her bed, in Kiryat Arba, Israel. He was on his way to his next victim when the Rapid Response Team shot him dead.

Dear Hallel,

In America we think of you. In rain, anemones aren’t as beautiful as in Eretz Israel.
But they hold up. The softly strong movie-star red blooms better in Eretz Israel.
I was a teenager once, in America. If I chose to be smart, then, I could have walked
in blessing, in free unbarricaded life and perhaps I would’ve been more welcome.
The borders we’re born in kept me on this side. On your side a chemistry of honey-
will to live full dancing out over the anemones and proud as the hoopoes.

One teenaged summer when my Dad knew my mother could never stop
envying me and when I could not stop a knowing that slashes
my ears into a beating stream, leaving all my love-ordered self-parts hopeless
my Dad said: I know, how about I send you to Israel?

What unwritten words did I fathom, what in-flesh bars on the windows
scared me so that I stayed? I cannot explain this turn-down of a blessing, only
perhaps the happy portion of me was profaned and I could not see the gift
my Dad had tried to bestow onto me.  My will now has crossed the path to light
and so, Dear Hallel, I write in America of my blessing to you, the loneliness I feel
for you, Dear Hallel, if I forget to notice the beauty of flowers, know
it is because I am thinking of you.

* * * * *

Nanette Rayman is the author of the poetry book, Shana Linda Pretty Pretty,  Project: Butterflies, Foothills Publishing, two-time Pushcart nominee, included in Best of the Net 2007, DZANC Best of the Web 2010, first winner of the Glass Woman Prize for prose. Publications include The Worcester Review, Sugar House Review (poem mentioned at, Stirring's Steamiest Six, Gargoyle, Berkeley Fiction Review, Editor's Pick for prose at Green Silk Journal, chaparral, Pedestal, ditch, Wilderness House Literary Review, decomp, Contemporary American Voices, featured poet at Up the Staircase Quarterly, Umbrella Factory, Rain, Poetry & Disaster Society, Grasslimb, Pedestal, DMQ Review, carte blanche, Oranges & Sardines, sundog lit, Melusine. Latest poetry at: Writing in a Woman’s Voice. She performed in many off off Broadway plays, studied at Circle in the Square and with Gene Frankel. She graduated from The New School.