From the recording Just War

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Medley: "Page 13 forward," "ground zero," "Passover 2002," by Leigh Herrick. Performed by Leigh Herrick. Excerpts from NIGHT by Elie Wiesel, translated by Stella Rodway. Copyright © 1960 by MacGibbon & Kee. Copyright renewed © 1988 by The Collins Publishing Group. Reprinted by permission of Hill and Wang, a division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC.



Who would’ve thought
things could have ever gotten this far
one line
following the next as steps in the night
follow their path in a particular pattern of sound
each witness may have heard might hear even now
a little differently: a sound with a shuffle or a muff a
click or a tap a hollow sound an echo perhaps whatever it was
remains inexact though the overall effect is still intact:
someone had been walking
perhaps in numbers
maybe alone or:
someone has been running here
perhaps alone
maybe in numbers
the sound itself
working over years
working as the women worked
working all these years
in a world that kills children
in a world the women prepare them for
*cooking eggs
baking cakes
hoping the suffering
still drowning
in their tears*
would one day come to an end
would one day free them from their kitchen vows
where they made so many promises out loud:
We will not be trite about this
they wrote in blood
We will say what has happened here

*after elie wiesel, night



some said rubber
some said steel
some said
they couldn’t really tell
--the smell—the smell—
some said toxic
some said weird
but they never said
no not one ever
dared say _______
no one ever said ______
or _______
words that could
hold us together
words that could
break us apart
words embodying
each of us
linking the
accounted for
or missing
and so we said
as we looked
as we looked
as we looked
we said
-shirts and rings
shoes and skirts
his bracelet her
we said as we looked
-wrist watches
lace around the cuffs
blue blazer red boots
white pants metal clips
we said and
we said
-credit cards and
business cards
visas and passports
licenses and indexes
files and folders
a pair of glasses
a tie
a tie
a tie
a tie
but never the hardest words
what we couldn’t really tell
among lost thumb-and
indentured prints
no one said
about the smell
no one said
no one said
none of us said
none of us said
none of us said
-the smell
of death




Full moon passes & shines
on Kabul & New York City
on Israel & Palestine
passes equally
& shines
on Washington D.C. & Geneva
on Bethlehem
even Rome

Full moon shining so long:
so long, we say, so long,
watching it passing purely
over all that once was pure

where even so long ago
it shone over the ape
who first time stood
first time walked
in moonlight
out of the pure jungle