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Poem: In the Time of Elul

We visit gravesites, mark

a year’s passing, turn in in

order to turn out another dimension.

We rough our smooth edges.


We visit gravesites, cemented

on grass and dirt, cover their tops

with rocks, thin bricks line

our chest, cavities of past mistakes.


We fail ourselves, calling mistakes

failures. We don’t just bury

past mistakes, we return them,

admonished. Failing to breathe


my chest, x-rayed again. Turning,

I turn my body before technicians ask,

knowing routine, knowing

machines better than skin


of lovers, I turn. Arms up. Ready. Exposed

passed my mistakes again, and go back


in the time of Elul. I am my own

beloved, as my beloved is mine

and I don’t prepare to apologize.

Not this time. How does one prepare


if one doesn’t apologize? I plotted

gravesites enough, yours and mine.

I sorried myself for you, calling

mistakes failures. Said I’m sorry,


wrong or right. Buried on top,

catacombed by thin bricks

lining my chest-grieving sites

of past mistakes, x-


raying failures. Have I done enough?

Did I fail, my mistake, again?

Blow another ram’s horn, another year,

caved, my chest glares back up


to me and grimaces Enough!

You’ve done enough this time!

The gravesites:        tended.


Wrong or right, we want to know

will we be held?


Image of KosKomárom – zsidó temet?. Author: Szeder László courtesy of

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