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Words on a Sabbath Morning

Today I hear the words again

this morning as on every Sabbath

a disembodied voice reads them

words I know from knee-height

reminding of scratched desk tops

inkpots blinking in their wells


Words that echo from dusty crevices

my fingers tracing them like Braille

devout and deep yet they do not move me

the voice’s owner has long gone to dust

as has my father whose grave

abandoned in the old country

is a place I do not visit


Too many words have unfolded since then

shouting verses from belfries and minarets

each in its own inflexion

compelling, commanding, yet

I find no inspiration in them


My father’s bones lie in the old country

abandoned, unvisited

from time to time he phones

usually on a Sabbath morning

listen to the words he says

repeat them after me


I listen, then close the connection

wait for retribution to descend

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© Johnmichael Simon



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