Acharei Mot – Tree Smith Benedikt

The chasm of grief was filled with ritual and routine.
Many details, many rules,

the goat cannot carry it all away.
The fire and the blood are reminders

of the sons’ brutal deaths,
but to be commanded to do and to fulfill

is better than to sit alone
and be consumed by loss.

The desert is vast, and it consumes as well.
The rituals will hold him in place

until his pain is no longer a chasm,
but rather something he can carry

Inside himself,
A reminder, but not anything that

will carry him away to Azazel, unmoored.
He will not be God’s scapegoat.


Tree Smith Benedikt lives with her husband and daughter near the Ohio River in Ohio.  When she’s not working, caring for her family and preventing her very old house from collapsing into a quaint heap, she is writing.

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