The Amen Stone
By Yehuda Amichai
Translated by Chana Bloch
On my desk there is a stone with the word "Amen" on it,
a triangular fragment of stone from a Jewish graveyard destroyed
many generations ago. The other fragments, hundreds upon hundreds,
were scattered helter-skelter, and a great yearning,
a longing without end, fills them all:
first name in search of family name, date of death seeks
dead man’s birthplace, son’s name wishes to locate
name of father, date of birth seeks reunion with soul
that wishes to rest in peace. And until they have found
one another, they will not find a perfect rest.
Only this stone lies calmly on my desk and says "Amen."
But now the fragments are gathered up in lovingkindness
by a sad good man. He cleanses them of every blemish,
photographs them one by one, arranges them on the floor
in the great hall, makes each gravestone whole again,
one again: fragment to fragment,
like the resurrection of the dead, a mosaic,
a jigsaw puzzle. Child's play.
This is a sleepy post because younger son arrived in D.C. around 6 a.m., so I have been awake for a lot of hours, though it's all good because he had a great trip and brought back lots of photos and stories. I went out briefly to take niece to CVS while son was in the shower, then son took the van to go look at cars because he needs to drive to his internship at NASA (apaulled had the car at work) and I got some writing done, folded laundry, and did thrilling chores.
Rose stopped by to see us and the cats, then we went to dinner with my parents so they could see son (they brought in Thai food). He was exhausted before we finished dessert, so we came home, he went to bed, and I watched The X-Files, which I liked a whole lot better than the season premiere though knowing Gillian Anderson says she won't come back makes me hope it ends (and ends on a hopeful note) this season. Then we watched a special on black holes. From son's trip: