If I Forget Thee

Kneeling on the riverbank
Where the sand turns to mud
Droplets of saltwater
Mingle with the fresh.

Led away in chains
From the land of promise
To the land of our father’s father.

Muted lyres and flutes
Drop to the dust, useless and broken.
Garments rent above the heart.
Howls of despair fill the ears
Of uncircumcised jailers.

Memories of home
Burn like a branding iron,
Searing, Scorching;
Scarring us for all time.

But the light of that fire
Illuminates the path ahead of us,
Guiding us like a pillar of fire
In the wilderness.

Inspired by Psalm 137 and originally published in the Spring/Sumner 2002 issue of Omnibus, the University of South Florida’s literary journal.