What grief and loss had you already
Packed into your siddur of sorrows
Daniel Joyce Richard and Rose each
A bough in the Tree of Life
Old and older the synagogue’s steady hand
The spine of faith the bullet’s burn
Bernice and Sylvan no quiet rest no goodbye
The last Shabbat for brothers David and Cecil
How hate percolating behind closed doors
Took Irving from his quiet life, a grandfather
As Jerry and Melvin too, unwarned except the vitriol
A species’ evolutionary triumph: the loner’s poison
Repeated and repeated again, the deadly dose
Unheeded unstopped fed from the top
Our free speech a weapon in the coarsening
The devolution. Alas, the withering tree.
Yvonne Daley is a career journalist who returned to poetry for sanity in these dark times. She lives in Vermont, still a sane place.
Image from the interior of the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA.