Question mark meanders
like a curl of smoke ascending heavenward,
a supple supplicant, innocent yet insistent,
only to cool, drift sideways,
bend back under itself–
expectant and intrusive
its round, ripe belly
belies the truth
of what it holds–
It was a simple question.
Is this your son’s coat?
But I answered an unasked question–
twisted, stained, bloody and ripped raw–
unmasking my horror and grief.
Years later, they stated it simply,
Joseph is still alive.
Standing among his gifts of wagons
and donkeys and food and riches
I added two words–My son–
forming a question that punctuated their tacit deceit–
a jagged gash
puncturing the tender trust between us.
by Alan Toltzis
Alan Toltzis is a strategic marketing consultant living in the Philadelphia area. One of his poems was published in Focus Midwest. He is writing a long series of poems that uses the Torah as a starting place.