Finding my Father’s Kinnor by M. E. Silverman


When they break open my father’s lungs like a pistachio,
they find his kinnor still strung.

The soundboard has grown into bone,
five times the size it used to be.

The two arms that extend
parallel to the instruments body

are now his arms,
not the mangled ones

crushed by that sleeping man
in a red-light running truck.

I was not there.
I was late.

So I sneak into his autopsy,
a mask over my face

like the one I always wear.
When the ten strings once made from sheep’s small intestine

start to sing,
we become the ghosts,

haunted by this absence of hollow,
by this inner beauty.

So they stand, knife in hand,
happily amazed,

while I admire his arms
that look thick & strong,

like stone, heavy enough
to lift me back into his song.


M. E. Silverman is an instructor, and he is editor and founder of Blue Lyra Review and Review Editor of Museum of Americana. He is on the board of 32 Poems. His chapbook, The Breath before Birds Fly (ELJ Press, 2013), is available. His poems have appeared in over 70 journals, including: Crab Orchard Review, 32 Poems, December, Chicago Quarterly Review, North Chicago Review, Hawai’i Pacific Review, Tapestry, The Southern Poetry Anthology, The Los Angeles Review, Mizmor L’David Anthology: The Shoah, Cloudbank, Neon, Many Mountains Moving, Pacific Review, Because I Said So Anthology, Sugar House Review, and other magazines. M. E. Silverman was a finalist for the 2008 New Letters Poetry Award, the 2008 DeNovo Contest and the 2013 May Sarton Prize. He recently completed editing a contemporary Jewish anthology with Deborah Ager from Bloomsbury and is working on a second one.