Mourning Scenes

The rabbi had requested that the clump of mourners stretch out from the graveside and form two parallel lines, and they did, and they faced each other, this somber, believing band. Inside the framed path moved the dead woman's family, her brother, husband, her sons and daughters-in-law, the grandchildren, and they were looking down and up and in. Behind them was a mound of fresh earth that emitted a kind of gasp with each gouge of the spade.

This was the scene at the Jewish Cemetery, and it was elemental and overpowering.

It was the scene that rose up two days later as I pedalled my bicycle up and down the highway pavement, alongside golden fields west of the city, alone. I stopped and the silence was everywhere, and I looked at the wheat, and looked, and thought that the path mowed through it had left a stubble of grief.

Near Calmar


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