Golem – Barbara Braverman

A 16th century Rabbi of Prague, Rabbi Loew, reportedly created a gigantic golem out of clay from the Vltava River, to defend the Prague ghetto from antisemitic attacks and pogroms.

Like stifling barracks
at a death camp
or a crowded city ghetto,

lopsided graves
in the Old Jewish Cemetery
push one another aside.

Gnarled elder
tree trunks compete
for sacred space.

12,000 tombstones
bodies buried 12 deep

gasping for air
amid the ramshackle
moss-covered monuments.

At midnight
a golem, they say,

through the cemetery
asks God to! protect the remains of
the Jewish people

leaves stones
yellow dandelions
on the pockmarked graves

and disappears out the
iron gate.


Barbara has been published in “The Poetry Superhighway,” “Bell’s Letters,” “Poetica Magazine” and “Dual Coast Magazine.” She has been a member of the Goat Rodeo poetry group for the past 10 years, and her work has been featured in two of their chapbooks.

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