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.

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