More People than Trees by Amelia Cohen-Levy
The Scroll is adding to our poetry output with Scroll Verse, a recurring feature which introduces the works of Jewish poets–or in some cases, poets who write on Tablet themes or have Jewish souls. Last week’s poem was “America, You Darling” by the incomparable Alex Dimitrov. Our latest installment features a poem by Amelia Cohen-Levy.
More People than Trees
My grandfather, with his long hook
and net, tore seaweed from the pond.
He feared there were more people than trees,
more goldfish hidden. He wanted
me to see them: orange blinks,
shining bellies tumbling over each other.
When they all died, a week later,
I took the net and the pole, three times my size,
and scooped out each corpse. I dug holes,
uprooted irises, tucked sheer fins
around dull gold, shut startled mouths
and covered them, each to their own grave.
My grandfather was buried in his tallit.
Strangers washed his body. I dreamt:
his head bobbing; blinks of fish alongside him;
pushing back flimsy, graceful seaweed; swimming.
We all gathered, shoveled a bit of dirt onto his coffin.
The shovel was heavy. I was small.
Amelia Cohen-Levy is a writer and editor living in Northern Virginia. Her work has appeared in The Ilanot Review, Moment Magazine, Jewcy, 580 Split and elsewhere.