Two Poems

by Steven Sher (December 2019)

Statue in a Cemetery, Endre Balint, 1959

Day of Mourning
after the Kosher Market murders, Paris, January 2015



Although they were not citizens,

today they became citizens


when they were lowered into the earth

beside those who died in defense of the nation.


The bodies were flown here               

where many Jews come to die


and not enough come to live

though we are waiting


for all to come home—

where a Jew can also be killed


by a terrorist as in France,

But here he can wear a kippah


and walk the streets without fear.

Here he can live as a Jew.




Calling Out a Fellow Poet Who Brought a
Blood Libel Charge Against the Jews


“In our matzos is the blood of Palestinian youths” —Yitzhak Laor



He mixes blood like leavening into the dough of hate,

adds a dash of doubt, a pinch of scorn,

and so it rises till it’s beaten down.


He splashes blood against our doorposts and our lintels,

paints the targets for the enemies

who wait outside our gates.


He would smash us on the rocks of history

then watch life drain into the sand,

inviting every scavenger to feast upon our flesh.

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Brooklyn-born Steven Sher has lived in Jerusalem since 2012. His latest (16th) book is Contestable Truths, Incontestable Lies (Dos Madres Press, 2019). His work has appeared widely since the 1970s. Recent appearances range from Veils, Halos & Shackles: International Poetry on the Oppression and Empowerment of Women to Mizmor Anthology to the forthcoming New Voices: Contemporary Writers Confronting The Holocaust. Last year he received the Glenna Luschei Distinguished Poet Award, headlining the 35th annual San Luis Obispo Poetry Festival. Visit him on his website.

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast


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