Vo l . 7 N o . 1
3. I’m glad we were foolish then enough to lie for hours in the dew-laced river-
Mud Flat Magic
for Jonas (1939 – 1999)
1. What if I told you my heart travels towards you always, still, wildflowers and purple thistle in my fist to make up for the pristine lilies I sent when you were buried? Would it please you to know I opened your coin-purse yesterday and emptied the silver dimes you’d saved since 1961 into a beggar’s hat? Or that I gave the neighbor’s boy your slingshot and the halfrotted bag of worn-smooth pebbles you called Goliath stones? I kept your prayer shawl, though I do not pray. Nights now, as firelight burns low in the stone hearth, it warms me to remember you and how, for hours, we argued law and scripture and whether afterlife existed and, if it did, where we’d like to spend it. 2. When Death swept through last century and stripped you of your little wool jacket with the goldenrod star your mother had sewn on by hand, you vowed to have it out with God one day. I hope you do. I hope you fix God in your steely sights and let Him have it good.
grass and mud, watching for falling stars so we could wish the world whole enough that we could be together – Jew and not-Jew – without trouble. But even if it isn’t – never will be – I am thankful you were in the world with me and that we lived that century well as we could between the two of us. 4. Fifty-two Sunday twilights now, I’ve washed at this sink, watching darkness sweep evening’s late gold from the sky and throw its shadow over every thing I’ve tried to get by heart: the too-unruly lawn gone gray, the river’s face a sable blank, the crooked half-wall vanished. I’ve watched the lights come warmly up in other people’s houses while everything I think I know plunges blackly out of sight. If, one day, the sky goes wholly-dark I want to believe that, somewhere, beyond the old blood-gospels of sacrifice and slaughter, of ritual and religion, beyond the small firelights of our own time and space, a new gospel of love will open before us there – wherever we might find ourselves – like a new tongue we’ve want most to learn.