SMOKE DON'T FORGET

Smoke don't forget
the earth that you leave
nor the burning synagogues
that gave you lift.
Recall the men wrapped in prayer shawls
who swayed to an ancient metronome,
prayed in devoted silence or aloud
to the One who created fire and smoke.
You are now their sorrowful messenger
a cruel sweet savor unto the Lord.

Smoke don't forget your sinews and source
the smoldering Torahs and sacred books .
Carry aloft the holy black letters
which informed men's reverend hopes.
Remember the unquestioned devotion of pure souls
and those who struggled faithfully with their doubts.
Smoke, find your next of kin,
the desert cloud of day and the pillar of fire by night,
and lead the living home.

Smoke don't forget
the tall chimneys and the jagged pits
from which you rose.
The innocent men, women and children
which were your host
proclaim that they were beautiful in life
and noble in their deeds.
Testify that they will be forever missed.

-Bernard Otterman