Standardized Gravestones

358

Dust you are

Thousands on thousands
And still don’t know

You can’t draw a person
Of straight lines and
Grey circles
When needled combs
Barbing the door
Rake the color from our skin.

Write what you know about
Jewish hair
I told him

Tell them what you learned
While you folded behind me
To calm each frantic strand

Make them hear the millennia
Aching from every follicle

What it is to love
Another being

I can’t
He spoke
With a voice spilling through
Shattered static
I’m only allowed to fill in the sea
Of ovals after ovals after
Dusky darkened ovals

Today
He said
I color my years with a number 2 pencil

The sea will slip to sand someday
They promise
But only once you’ve sailed it
And far behind

For no matter how you fill the ovals
To dust you return

Artist’s Statement: I wrote this poem as a commentary on perspective. As teenagers, there are some things in our lives (like standardized testing and college) that can grow out of proportion to become so much bigger than they truly are. The poem serves as a reminder of things that are important in the larger picture of life, things that actually define us.
Maya Rabinowitz
Maya is currently in 12th grade at Germantown Friends School, a private Quaker school in Philadelphia, PA. She lives with her two moms and her dog Ollie, and they practice Reconstructionist Judaism. She loves school, particularly English and music, and she's in the upper school choir which she really enjoys.