Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Buried a Jew

Sometimes when I close my eyes
I walk in my mourning clothes
to visit tombs I have never seen,
searching for the mausoleum of my grandfather.
To kill his living memory,
to bury him with the floating
spirits of his Barese peasant ancestors
who prayed everyday slaving away by the Adriatic Sea
without a thought that one hundred years later
I would be here.
A mutt,
mixed with the Anglos,
the Micks, and the Jews
stripped of their Barese last name,
not living for the land,
but riding on a dirty subway train-
Underground I sat waiting desperately to see
a man before he closed his dark brown eyes forever,
went back to the lands of his fathers,
to reclaim his name,
to repent for his dirty deeds,
to wipe away all the disgust
he held for his heritage in life-
Behind a glass window,
It was so simple.
So quick.
Just a few words
from a woman in white
who told me politely,
“he was transferred”
and she will never know
how I shattered
as I replied, “thank you.”
Moved from the hospital bed,
he was dead-
And I went back underground,
my soul at civil war,
exploding and destroying
until it stopped and I felt dead.
In darkness
I felt God, but it still hurt.
I felt God, even though
I am not a catholic,
protestant, a Jew,
baptized, or confirmed.
My grandfather’s poor Barese soul
watched with his fathers
as he was given a Jewish funeral.
I can only imagine
his burial site,
unless I can catch him as he floats
around in my dreams
to show me the way back there,
but for now my eyes will only over flow
when I see the funeral card,
my grandmother framed,
but cannot read because it is written in Hebrew.

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