Day of Atonement by Jacob Kramer


Who among us has not hurt another?

But why is it always men portrayed with greatest

fanfare and magnitude as if women were only

handmaidens and could not commit horrendous wrongs?

A scissored chain of cut-outs, all angled and bronzed

not at all something golden, but more like sandstone fractures

a long line of replica-men moving towards some higher

ground making it both personal and impersonal.

The figures look like old Jewish men.

Do they carry the memories of Auschwitz and why would

they be atoning for something they were the victims of?

Because among them were Jews who sold them out?

Is it in all of us, this quality of perpetrator and victim?

Or maybe the figures are saying, when awareness of

one’s iniquities come, there might also come

a desperate need to make things right.

So many ways of interpreting a chain gang.

Still, the point is that everyone has committed some

wrong at some time in their life and there may be women

in the back under those ripe wheat-colored robes.

Can you see your face? Do you know how to make it right?