At Least This Time There’s a Grave

headstone with hebrew writing and stones on top
Volunteers were called to dig
graves    too many
to bury and not enough
diggers in the small
country of Israel.
A thousand funerals in
one day    a shortage of diggers
an excess of graves.


My relatives were their own
diggers.  There was only
one grave for them
No place to find my
ancestors’ graves except as
in the forests
near Kiev.
No funerals either.
Those friends and relatives
who would attend a funeral
were buried beside them.


Jews have progressed in this
We can weep as loud as a siren.
We can mark the place of
beloved bones.
We can volunteer
sweat pouring like tears,
arm muscles swelling in pain,
to dig into the black
blood-soaked earth.
to lay our sons, daughters,
grandparents, uncles, aunts,
cousins, friends
to rest.







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