A Poem by Elissa Rashkin

I, poet, convoke this minyan of infidels
To mourn and to celebrate
What remains of our humanity.

Kaddish for the disappeared
Kaddish for the headless, dismembered
Limbs in black plastic garbage bags;
Kaddish for the meth-crazed warriors
broken lovers, dead neglected children
Kaddish for the junkies
For the suicides (lord have mercy), may their pain
Across the clear skies
Of lovingkindness.

Kaddish for the rest of us
Left here to wonder
To pretend
Or to defend
Against numberless hosts
To raise our sons and daughters
From their hidden graves
To raise our sons and daughters
To rise, and rise again
To exorcise the demons
To sing
so fiercely
Until there is nothing
Of song.

Elissa Rashkin is a research professor in cultural and communication studies at the Universidad Veracruzana in Mexico. Author of books and articles on Mexican and international film, literature and cultural history, as well as poetry and short fiction.

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