Winter 1979 • Vol. I No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 1979 |

Isaac Leibush Peretz

From the Yiddish.  And you are dead. The earth has not yet covered you, And through a thousand distant streets like racing hooves The news spreads. Headlines, quick as telegrams, Cry out at us that your heart doesn't beat. And like a garish advertisement, your gray head Is framed in black. And we, the bigshots who should now be dumb And prostrate, circle around your spirit Like husky girls in a saloon around a rich old drunk. And we have tears and speech like round smooth pearls, Like big gold coins. And everyone who has a tongue Drums out a rhythmic dirge, lamenting like a cobbler-boy Pounding a thick nail in an old shoe's heel. And every sound is full of filth and sweat, Like a slave's skin, and everything is merchandise—We deal in all that can be bought and sold—Torahs and hog-bristles, men and devil's dirt. It's amazing that we haven't cheated Death Of his death-tools with copper coins and schnapps! We are the flesh and blood of that great hero, Jacob, Who bought his br

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