Bruce J. Berger

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

 

Cain’s Lament

 

Adam and Eve

Will claim I was

Unprovoked.

 

I did smash that rock

Hard into my

Brother’s head.

 

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.

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