The ID tag

On Yom Kippur I hold your ID tag in my hand –
the ID tag that has hung for the past 42 years in our mother’s kitchen
and now hangs beneath your photo
in my office.
Black dirt stains
cover the aluminum plate
where your name is engraved forever.
This is the ID tag that lay abreast your beating heart
when a shell fired from a Syrian tank
pierced your tank – your chariot of steel.
This ID tag was shrouded in blood together with you
upon the soil of the Golan Heights
beside the burning tank
as you bled alone,
pleADIng for help,
until your dying breath.
And I am here, stroking the ID tag
and asking for your forgiveness.
Please, please forgive me, my dear brother
for not being there with you on that last fateful day,
forgive me for not saving you.
Basalt rocks adorn
the spot where you fell
like weights of memory
pulling me in to search you out
for yet another hug,
that I may feel even the slightest touch of forgiveness.
Soon the Shofar will be blown,
and the New Year will be ushered in
amidst the sound of your desperate cries –
like the crying of a baby –
that will echo forever in my ears,
and I will stand with all my deeds
shrouded in my Yom Kippur prayer shawl
– like the ID tag enveloped in your blood.

Doron Almog – Avrutsky
Brother of Platoon Tank Commander, Lt. Eran Avrutsky

– Yom Kippur, 10 Tishrei 5776 –
23 September, 2015

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