Ritualwell

Tradition & Innovation
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A Handful of Stones

A response to the recent desecration of Jewish cemeteries (March 2017)


You were laid, just so, in the summer
that brings damp heat and cicada song,
and the ground is thirsty.
We laid you, just so,
under heavy granite,
weighted down with pebbles.

There is precision in your rest,
so unlike your sleep,
which was tangled in damp sheets.
Now you are straight-lined,
straightened so neatly.
just so.

Yet today, there is nothing
stately or precise in all this
felled granite—
no tangling curved
softness, damp
and sleep-worn.

There is only clumsy rock
toppled by fools,
your pebbles strewn
on the winter-hard ground:
a garden of granite
and colorless cold,
and a suddenness
of violence,
a riot of grey.

I meant to visit you sooner,
to bring you daisies
and tulips
and a handful
of stones.

I meant to grieve more
softly, edges worn
smooth by time
and dull, straight lines,
but the chaos of these
granite stones
and newly tangled paths
have honed it again
into razor-wire
sharpness.

Poem

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