Memory Makes No Distinction

I thought about what you asked me

on the train to Delaware the other day.

“What makes you so anxious?,” you said

It’s a fair question, as fair as any I suppose.

***

If you could feel yourself

Being thrown

down a well and

landing at the

 

Bottom

Choking

 

on freezing water

broken-backed

but still

alive

If you could hear the

 

Mobs

Coming

 

with sharpened scythes

laughing, drunken and

singing

 

“Kill the ones who killed our Lord”

 

If you could smell the

soft skin of the

 

Torah

Burning

 

and see

the dancing flames

reflected

In the

 

Dark

Parts

 

of your children’s

eyes

 

If you could flee past

pools of

 

Human

Blood

 

and know that

your town

is no more

than an abattoir

 

Then like me

you and your children’s

children

children

children

would be

 

Forever

Anxious

 

and running

 

And never without

their

 

Bags

Packed

 

and

waiting

at the door

 

Never rooted

Or safe

Or home

Or at rest

 

Even on the Sabbath you would

dream with

the same fear that

 

Your

Forebears

 

carried

in each and

every one

of their cells

 

I descend from the Tribe

of

Long memory

 

The Clan of

ineradicable memory

 

The Minyan of

Unmitigated

memory

 

I am of the

People

whose dark dreams

never fade

 

I walk astride

 

beautiful sinners

resplendent priests

callow princesses

stillborn prophets

long-limbed dancers

tearful poets

tongue-tied judges

penitent mothers

dutiful fathers

scholarly women

lustful saints

dying soldiers

wizened beggars

hapless angels

climaxing cherubim

sing-along seraphs and a

 

Living

God

 

who stays

 

Stone

Silent

 

As he leads us

to the next

Parting

of the next

 

Red

Sea

 

I am brother

to the horde

who cannot unburden

themselves from their own

Memory

 

Both the blessed ones

and the accursed ones alike.