Monday, January 12, 2015

Stuart Kestenbaum: "Prayer for the Dead"

















The light snow started late last night and continued
all night long while I slept and could hear it occasionally
enter my sleep, where I dreamed my brother
was alive again and possessing the beauty of youth, aware
that he would be leaving again shortly and that is the lesson
of the snow falling and of the seeds of death that are in everything
that is born: we are here for a moment
of a story that is longer than all of us and few of us
remember, the wind is blowing out of someplace
we don’t know, and each moment contains rhythms
within rhythms, and if you discover some old piece
of your own writing, or an old photograph,
you may not remember that it was you and even if it was once you,
it’s not you now, not this moment that the synapses fire
and your hands move to cover your face in a gesture
of grief and remembrance.



"Prayer for the Dead" by Stuart Kestenbaum, from Prayers & Run-on Sentences (Deerbook Editions, 2007). Text as presented by American Life in Poetry (September, 2014).

Curator's note: The poet lost his brother Howard when the World Trade Center was destroyed on September 11, 2001. 

Art credit: Untitled photograph by Mike Chimeri, taken on Long Island, New York, February, 2013.


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