he picks a coin up
from the ground
it burns his hand
like ashes it is red
& marks him as it marks
the others hidden
he is hidden in the forest
in a world of nails
his dibbik fills him
Each night another one would hang himself. Airless boxcars.
Kaddish. "What will they do with us?" The brown & black
spots on their bellies. So many clothes. The field was littered.
Ten thousand corpses in one place. Arranged in layers. I am
moving down the field from right to left—reversing myself at
every step. The ground approaches. Money. And still his great-
est fear was that he would lose his shoes.
earth, growing fat with
the slime of corpses green & pink
that ooze like treacle, turn
into a kind of tallow
that are black
at evening that absorb
"Der Gilgul (The Possessed)" By Jerome Rothenberg, from Khurbn and Other Poems, copyright © 1989 by Jerome Rothenberg. Used by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.
Source: Khurbn and Other Poems
(New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1989)
Poems by Jerome Rothenberg