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By John I. Blair

O what a way
They had with names;
To call their fifth-born son

After an exiled king
Of Judah on the Tigris
Whom only Bible scholars
Know today. Salathael,

You must have had another,
Maybe “Thael” or “Sal”
Or “my baby boy

And that for such a tiny time,
Just begun to walk, to talk,
To dream of running
When you died, Salathael.

Sheltered by the heavy stones
That mark your father’s
And your older brothers’ graves
On either side, Salathael,

Your broken bit of marble
Lies half-hidden in the ground,
Reclining like its carved lamb,
Your name, “Salathael,”

Curved around the top,
Almost too long to fit
And disappearing under moss,
Just as you, Salathael,

Disappeared so many years ago,
Beneath the grass,
The sky-blue vervain,
Salathael my kinsman.

©2010 John I. Blair

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