I Couldn’t Throw Dirt on Your Casket

The rabbi floated like a magician.
Your casket we chose, bronze colored.

It was closed, as was the custom.
And at the grave, everyone took turns

shoveling some dirt onto your casket,
like a token gesture. I could not do it.

For me, it was like throwing dirt at you.
It dignified nothing. I’d throw a line of life,

not death. Who could say you wouldn’t know it?
Who could prove that the dead do not create

a force, distinguished on the particles felt
between us?

Donna J. Gelagotis Lee

Donna J. Gelagotis Lee is the author of On the Altar of Greece, winner of the Seventh Annual Gival Press Poetry Award and recipient of a 2007 Eric Hoffer Book Award: Notable for Art Category. Her poetry has appeared in journals internationally, including The Bitter Oleander, Cimarron Review, The Cortland Review, Feminist Studies, and The Massachusetts Review. Her website is www.donnajgelagotislee.com.