from an etching by Chaim Koppelman
by Sheldon Kranz
shall we say of the clear light
Curving swiftly across the gray skeleton of our mind,
Illuminating dusty corners,
Stirring old hopes?
And when heavy iron doors are swung open
To reveal a summer landscape where couples
Deep in conversation
Move quietly along red brick paths,
How shall we see this?
What shall we do?
He sits stiffly in the yellow room,
His arms bent at a careful angle,
His eyes fixed on an invisible spot
That moves as he moves.
Statue-like, he smiles,
And his teeth are white and strong.
The sun is hot on the angles of his knees,
And he moves his head slowly,
Knowing he is cold,
Feeling the dark spot move as he moves,
Wondering if he is still alive.
She runs along the rows of benches,
Embracing each new image that arrives,
Plump and serene in the evening light.
She cannot speak,
But hugs each image to her,
Remembers a long-forgotten childhood name,
And moves on quickly,
Adoring each new image
That settles itself on a crowded bench
And falls pleasantly asleep.
With fingers intertwined,
They sit facing the high wall,
Leaning lightly against each other for support.
With his free hand, he plays with an open book;
With her free hand, she strokes a furry kitten;
And both tell each other the story of the wall,
And praise its great height,
And smile and kiss,
And praise each other, and kiss again,
Unaware that neither of them makes a shadow on the wall.