My son tells me he stopped eating
hummus and falafel on Bezalel Street
after Bus #18 split in half in Jerusalem.
East or West?
My son froze, watched the Burial Society
men tweeze flesh from a tree.
Mesmerized by the Hello Kitty book bag
streaked with blood, inches from his Nike sneakers.
After the Europe explosion—London or France?—
my son went everywhere on foot, sold
his train pass to an unsuspecting kid from Kansas.
After the Aurora cinema shootings,
my son subscribed to Netflix
but never saw The Dark Knight Rises.
The shooter looked more like a dazed joker
with a bad dye job than a crazed killer.
My son settles into the car’s
passenger seat, secures the belt, and I notice the shaving gash
by his ear. I’m firing questions in staccato,
but he's fiddling with his iPhone, bopping to Labyrinth
when we both hear the boom, the backfire
of a car. And I pretend not to notice
my son’s lurch, the Book of Psalms
falling from his pocket.
Haya Pomrenze's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous journals, including Rattle, 5 AM, MiPOesias, and Lake Effect. She collaborated with Denise Duhamel on poems of faith and family, some of which have appeared in Toad and other journals. Her poem “Why I Resent Holocaust Survivors” was a finalist in theJewish Currents Poetry Competition, and her first collection, Hook (Rock Press, 2007), was nominated for the National Jewish Book Award. Her most recent collection is How It's Done (Finishing Line Press, 2014).