You can tell when a man breaks
The essence of our being dances
Twinkles in the color of our gaze
Sight untroubled stares vivaciously
Hungry for the beauty of life
A broken man’s eyes thirst
Thirst for relief
Not for beauty but for redemption, salvation,
Dancing eyes submit, surrendering
Dulling their light as an act of conservation
Tucking the soul away
I remember my eyes were blue before
I had a daughter with curls, and a loving wife, and eyes like the unclouded sky
That was before reading the Torah became a crime
They came in a rush of merciless green
They were loud
Their eyes did not dance
The eyes on the train car wavered—not sure whether to hope or to relent
The eyes in the barracks sunk into shades of red and black
Red from fatigue, tears, strain
Black from the donning of Death’s shadow, falling to godless resignation
The eyes during inspection were frantic
With the thirst for safety.
After the first ashes fell,
The ground was covered in gray.
After the first relative fell,
The eye’s luster was lost to smoke.
The cruelty of man is not known
Until you are beneath the barrel of his gun
Surrounded by the walls of your own grave.
You look into his eyes and wonder if they are the same as yours
But before you find the answer
There is black.
Tell them my eyes never dulled.
Tell them I was shot by a cobalt glare
But my eyes never faltered.
They were never red, black, or gray.
My eyes stayed blue.
With hope for humanity and life and God
I know when a man breaks.
But tell them I remained unbroken.