The song of picked flowers
Gabriel Niforatos | Wednesday, October 31, 2018
To my brothers and sisters, the heroes of the Tree of Life Synagogue with whom I share the bond of being Jewish, who lost their lives but have empowered a people and a nation:
They promised us clean water when we were dirty,
But rain could not wash our feet that lay in mud,
Surrounded by the ravens that picked at our skin,
I felt every feather, every fiber.
I remember you told me you wanted to be buried,
Laughing like a photograph as you did,
Kneading bread maybe, somewhere, sometime, on a Tuesday afternoon.
Exactly one month later I watched you burn,
Your skin curling like the photograph burned.
I wept tears of loneliness,
As I buried my brother a thousand times,
Bleeding the blood of solitude
That washes us all like forbidden water.
I am the cry to wilderness,
History is worn into the soles of my feet.
I cross the wasteland, I never stop; weariness is a luxury that I cannot bring.
I have weathered rain and heat, sunflowers and train cars, sweat, mud, filth
Beautiful summer days that were executions,
The sprouting of roses on the shirts of the slaughtered,
The faces of roses that pushed through the weeds of wire,
The sight of my brother vanquished two seconds from freedom,
The songs of prayer from those who knew that death was coming,
The chant of a people that knows they are dried flowers,
In a cracked vase but the most radiant in all the world.
It’s on my face. Can’t you see?
The Song of Picked Flowers.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.