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Afternoon Sun*

by Shelley Gertzog Cohen

I see you in the field next to the shed

You hear the sound

Turn around into the afternoon sun

Even as your eyes adjust

You know why they have come

She is in the garden just over the rise

On this most beautiful September day

Tomatoes still ripe

Full of sweetness and hope

She will come to you before they look

Stand with you to face the rifles and boots

The kids are in the woods

Safe until the shadows prod them home

By then it will be done

They will run and they will live

Even though you could have left

Even though so many did

Sisters, brothers, cousins and friends

You came back to your sanctuary of wood and earth

Barnyards and streams

A sky that even tonight will sparkle above

Even as the hatred closed around

Another farm burned, another village gone

You made a choice

I see you now, in the last moment of your life

You hold her as she holds you

You look to the south

The breeze is soft

Without words you tell her

It’s been a good life

A life of song and earth and sky

If you are still alive tonight

You will look at the stars

Like you always have

*Inspired by the brother of my grandfather, Isidore Gertzog. They came to America together. My grandfather stayed. His brother went back home.

Mon, April 22 2024 14 Nisan 5784