Grief Response Hotline

a person holds their hands to their ears in distress

to the grief response hotline:


my people have been harmed
and we have such strong need to respond
who can answer?


thank you for calling
our fully funded, health-care replete professional consultants are here
having rested all night
eaten and and nourished
and meditated deeply


yes, we hear you
no, it’s not acceptable
my dear, we are with you,
lighting up the sky with your colors


please, I am here for your anger
your tears, your need to express it all.


when you are ready,
let me know
and will begin to craft a professional plan
together to keep you safe


you don’t want your pain to be compared to any other pain?
or to be victim-blamed in the time of your greatest anguish.
my love, I don’t want that for you either


we have taken away
your car keys for your protection
you can drive once we’ve given you


the three sulha cups of tea
and the pita in falafel
crispy with oil
bright green-studded inside
surprising soft potatoes
purple eggplant
sour pickles tucked inside
dripping tahini onto your waiting fingers


yes, thank you for asking
we have also taken
the keys of your foes


to protect this time
that is set aside only for your grief
your memorial
tearing your shirt over your heart
until your heart is naked
to the unforgiving, limitless sky
1000 candles ringing
Dizengoff fountain
the relentless sound of desiccated earth
falling on your beloved
who is not there


I have time for your tears
and I’m fully resourced
with an excellent retirement plan
and my colleagues will be here with you nights and weekends


tell me my dear
what is it you said you needed?


for it never to happen again
was that what I said?


I hear your confidence and clarity
and also your confusion and questions
welcome them all


let us study the bodies of wisdom
the bodies of paper and parchment
the sounds of the sky and the earth
the ancestors and the youth
answer all the questions you have.


what will ensure
that this will never happen again?



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