Two Poems by Diane Kendig


This week, it’s the basics.
I believe in sleep
which I could not sustain
and finally did.
I believe in the friend
who supported me
like a cantilever
hanging over my grief,
the one man who stood
stolid as a Doric column.
Then too food, as always,
the beignet with sweet potato,
the salmon unfolding like silk
against my tongue.
I cannot yet bury the mattock,
nor the hand ax,
but those ashes on the shelf,
I believe I can bury them now,
rest in the peace he gave us.

In the Time of  Judges
— from The Book of Ruth 1:1

Before judges Berzon, Fletcher, and Tashima,
Sarah appeared from Justice to explain that children
concentrated in camps as juice is concentrated by squeezing

did not need soap nor diapers nor blankets nor any tools
of warmth nor comfort nor hygiene nor health,
and the three, used to hearings, tried to hear any mercy

in her strained speech. Their faces were strained, stretched
at what they heard, then fell, falling out of DOJ’s senselessness.
And Judge Wallace Tashima, interred in camps as a child,

had a face that could not believe its ears, and Fletcher said,
“Inconceivable,” as Berzon noted it all seemed like ancient history,
say Old Testament, say, of Biblical proportions.

Sarah once chose dog sitting over showing up to reunite children
separated from parents and in private practice argued that children
who ingested lead could not have brain injury. She won that one.

This current case, she says, she will fight about no more, but look
to her own safety and that of her family which we must presume
will have blankets and hygiene tools, and lo, especially the family pet.

About Diane Kendig

Diane Kendig has published four collections of poetry, most recently Prison Terms (2018). A proponent of public workshops and local poets, Kendig conducts creative writing workshops in prison, schools, and community centers, and curates a blog, “Read + Write: 30 Days of Poetry” for National Poetry Month. She’s on the web at dianekendig.com.

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