My Sister Hans
My sister Hans is no more. I hold her new-born babe in my bare hands. Its body bums my flesh. Its tiny fingers tear at my wounded heart. Hans, its mother, is no more. I sit at my sister’s table and eat the food she would have prepared for me. I eat her bread salted with my unshed tears. Hans is no more. I lie in her bed. My body is cold, my eyes are tearless, my heart pounds within me, and I am afraid. For Hans, my sister, is no more. I have seen death and now I fear life.
Through the stillness of the grey dawn comes the saddened voice of my father: “Yisgadal v’yiskadash.” He stands erect, still, uncrying. He knows his daughter is no more, and like Israel of old, truly his grey hairs will go down in sorrow to the grave. Tall and erect he stands, his heavy, woolen prayer-shawl covers his aging head, his voice trembles not as he, sanctifies and glorifies God’s name. “Yisgadal v’yiskadash sh’mey rabbah.”
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