Dina Pearlman


(K'ri-ah is an ancient Jewish sign of grief that involves the tearing or rending part of the mourner's clothing.

Women in Black--Women in Black is a loose network of women world-wide committed to peace with justice and actively opposed to war and other forms of violence. Demonstrations usually take the form of women wearing black, standing in a public place in silent, non-violent vigils.
Mikvah is a ritual of purification by immersion in flowing water after one becomes symbolically impure for various reasons such as menstruation or handling of the dead.)

I. (daughters)

Women in Black are standing speechless between the rubble of status quo. Just the (flapping) sound of windswept veils.
K'ri-ah is louder than tongue clucking lamentation
we are fine silk
and unraveled,
leaving gaping holes where borders lie like ripped seams.
Wrenched from belief, fabricating lessons, knotting formations of puppet strings
and woven patrons,
only women truly keen, so our silence terrible.Traffic stops.
All that remains are black birds swarming into tissue thin air.

II. (mothers)

Go to the mikvah and cleanse yourself from that blood pumping from earth's lacerated heart.Preaching the myth of safety
while handing out holocaust postcards
she gave her
(flesh of her flesh)
bruised pigment that she painted on herself:
at night she dreams of
crumpled paper towers,
shredded faces staring back at her in the mirror
as she anoints her weary body with oil. "My daughter, don't ask questions. Why do you wonder why?";

III. (talking heads)

Gather here folk, and listen well:
Thousands will die for our sins today.
Those castles in the air are
closer to heaven.
Their temple was brought
god's knees ache this gasping blue morning.
And they are pointing fingers and smashing fists into palms
who threw the first stone?
who threw?
who knew?IV. (daughters)
The desert holds our blame intact,
the oasis is lost.
the well is dry.
the river is ruptured
now we are stained and impure
parched lips, standing alone watching the war go by-Do not touch me, my hands are bloody
Do not touch me, my hands are bloody
Do not touch me, my hands are bloody


I'm back for more,
the twitchy hill is now allowing
gentle feet of rain,
calling for a witness.

Can it swallow up bullets
and melt the lead
into new skeins
to wrap the giant in ore?

You're now just
skin and bones, teeth and fur.
Your jaws swallow dirt,
fat flies chortle in glee from the orgy feast,
inside your belly new mushrooms explode.
I'm sorry I couldn't bury you
and release you to the earth where
sounds are muffled thick in tenderness,
but even in your corruption
I find it hard to extract myself
from the moss covered paws
of your embrace.

About the Author

Dina Pearlman has been involved with the arts since she first gripped a crayon in her native Massachusetts. After momentary stints as a rock musician, modern dancer and a professional photographer, she has primarily concentrated on exhibiting her visual art and writing and performing her poems and short stories. She's read at the Poetry Project at St. Mark's in New York City, was featured at The Woodstock Poetry Festival as well as other venues throughout the Hudson Valley . Her work has appeared in numerous publications including, Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, Chronogram, Dyed-in-the-Wool, Wildflowers, the Half Moon Review and Prima Materia.

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