Bruce J. Berger is an MFA candidate and writing instructor at American University and has studied there with poets Kyle Dargan and David Keplinger and with fiction writers Stephanie Grant and Dolen Perkins-Valdez. Bruce’s poetry has appeared in Hevria, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Potomac Journal, Jewish Literary Journal, and elsewhere, and he has published some twenty-odd short stories, not to mention the work he self-publishes on Amazon for e-readers. And, since January 20, 2017, he has written a series of scathing and amusing letters of advice and condemnation to the current White House occupant, published at his website, http://brucejberger.wordpress.com
Adam and Eve
Will claim I was
I did smash that rock
Hard into my
Because Abel was preferred,
Not by God,
But by our evil parents.
They loved his red meat
Loved so much
Licking from their greedy hands
The still warm blood
Now God must
Protect me from Hell,
From my parents’ wrath.
The Funeral of My Father
We pushed the plain pine box designed to rot
as quickly as earth’s lot of water could
invade and seep around your senseless bones.
We moaned the wooden case into the hearse,
wanting no more than having it all end
as soon as not, in your last resting port,
obtained so long ago before your need.
The line of cars with headlights on was short.
Would there be ten, enough to say the prayer?
For kaddish would we have the complement?
In September there should have been a warmth,
but cold winds blew down from we knew not where.
A mound of dirt beside the open grave,
three shovels there, each son took one in hand
and moved back dark soil that had been disturbed,
each clod farewell, reversing of a bell.
Came upon us then God’s rain, the answer,
driving hard, pushing us away from what
quickly turned to mud, the grim job undone.
Our prayer forgotten, lost in the quest for
shelter, we relinquished our hope for sun,
and left the rest to those who would be paid.
A wage was all it meant to them, but still
I’m glad they closed the grave to do your will.