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by John Stocks

Here the soft flesh tones are tenderised.
The assertive sprays, the gurgling spurts dry quickly,
the haunches cook slowly on sun-bleached stone;
see how the salty blood forms patterns, rivulets
from a warm, still-wobbling heart?

At Masada the dying buried the dead
below circling vultures, eager to be known.

Resting on the high table of morality
the Hebrew God paused and blessed his own:
‘Blessed are the children-slayers
the guardians of their sacred souls,
securing death before dishonour.’

After the carnage, only the sun gazed down
over the hillside, across the valley floor
torpid in a summer heat-wave to where
the Dead Sea gazed back, unwavering.

Copyright © 2012 by John Stocks

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