Men stop you on Jaffa Road
They ask you the time
They don’t want to know the time
One word is your last word
Son of a whore, they curse
As they aim their Uzi
Straight at your chest
In the Holy city of Jerusalem

Doused with petrol
Torched alive
Shot at close range
Sprayed with white phosphorus
For throwing a stone
For walking too slow
For running too fast
For having the wrong accent
For playing ball on the beach
On a perfect summer day

Two minutes to evacuate
You grab your infant child
As the building collapses
Whole families set alight
Babies stuffed in ice-cream freezers
Mothers trapped beneath rubble

They are all enemy combatants
Says the photogenic Angel of Death
Their elderly and their women
Their cities and their villages
Their property and their infrastructure
And their blood shall be on all their heads
She carefully applies powder-pink lipstick
To her cupid’s bow, then hits Send
Her Facebook post goes viral
She is appointed Minister of Justice

You dream dreams of dark-eyed virgins
A palace of rubies and pearls
You strap explosives to your chest
Walk calmly to Tel Aviv Central
In your stolen IDF khakis
Take out the swaggering soldiers
In a blaze of fire and blood

Giving the enemy reason
For the next demolition
They’ll use you as a reason
Didn’t you realize
There were no rubies or virgins
There was only fire and blood

And the Hannibal Directive
On Ofer Winter’s lips
And clouds of divine honor
In his fevered dreams

When the fog lifted
And the sun rose
On the ninth of Av
Quiet descended
On the killing fields of Gaza

Until the next time
And the time after
And the time after

In the shiftless desert sands
A molten lake of fire awaits
Biding its time at Dimona

Lynne Lopez-Salzedo is a British writer and activist living in New York. She has exhibited her art in London and New York, and written art criticism and political commentary for British and American magazines. She can be reached at lynne.salzedo@gmail.com. Read other articles by Lynne.