The Apparent Idleness of Cemeteries

A foray into fields of conflict, killing fields, and 'overwhelming silence'
"The Heart prepares a Tomb for those Dead to Themselves," fused plastic bags, paper, 2014
"The Heart prepares a Tomb for those Dead to Themselves," fused plastic bags, paper, 2014

I choose a world in which crimsoned sheets
simply signify a girls’ dorm, prosaic,
a buzzing section of honeycomb.

Just out of sight of the thick slabs,

doves mewl to their young. In the Pinat Hai
the guinea pig huddles into the rabbit’s rib,
making fools of the living who know who
they are with dead certainty.

On Idleness. I wanted most then, to wander
like a river (‘last thoughts form and deliquesce
like clouds watched long enough’)
— no, like a stream in its differing encounters
with jasper, with sandstone.

We have forgotten the superpower of societies,
much as the inosculation of trees through
chain-link and cement, to make small adjustments
to driving when sighting an obstacle.

I choose the living hive.
Yet – what is this mutation?
My nation of soldiers, will we recognize ourselves
when they put us to work like the Germany army
of today, pouring concrete pads for refugees of Gush Katif,
an emergency clinic on the road to Beitar?

Is this the right question?

…and of all the sowing…
and the reaping, have mercy and love
issued forth.
Mercy, white milk, and honey, gold love…

– Shirts with laces for want of buttons.
Some of us planted perot Hadar,
Some seeded bee-balm.

Enter the bee-keeper. And now wildflowers in the copse,
Startling hues of butterflies.

Admor miRozhyn, recall to me once more
how the separate wheat-heads
knocking against their kind in the fields
will at length cause the dough to rise?

Please, tell me again that when the Angel Michael
initiates, Gabriel too is moved to lend a hand?

Is there still a market for honey?

Is this the right question?

Do such words breathe between us, move us,
are we still enough to notice? Is our Shabbat
a sunset field dialed down dim enough, and wide a mesh, and idle
to catch observations native to us?

I suppose it’s possible to glimpse the marine-blue curtain
of a defunct construction site, flapping slack at a distance,
and imagine life where the only touch is air;

or imagine winged monarchs, black-segmented flames flying,
precursors to a colored hymn of stained glass in the chapel.

-Unlike the Dream of Akinosuke, watched over by his friends,
I cannot know whose mouth of earth this is, from which this butterfly
emerges, any more than I know
whose mouth spoke more than one species and girsa of Geula
nor all the names for the unknown;
neither whose souls,
nor whose the souls

“The Heart prepares a Tomb for those Dead to Themselves,” fused plastic bags, paper, 2014
About the Author
Ester Karen Aida received the gift of a heart transplant at Hadassah - Ein Karem from a Palestinian mom in 2009. She has arranged dialogue meetings for the Dati-Leumi sector in coordination with NVC - Bethlehem. A mother of six, she lives in Jerusalem. More poems -- a meditative practice -- on FB.
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