richard fein





"Yet grains of sand and the cosmos of stars are finite.

Eventually there comes an end to counting,

a final sum is reached."


I want to leave but there are no stones here.

Cold stones on cold marbles, 

mourners mark headstones with rocks found on the ground.

It is the tradition.

Strangely every headstone is crowned,                           

the ones still visited by the grieving,

the ancient headstones once mourned

by mourners who, themselves, were mourned and forgotten,                       

and even the tiny faded and faceless marbles for long‑ago infants.             

Someone has gathered all the nearby rocks

and placed them as mourners' stones

on all the surrounding headstones.

Someone linked the forgotten headstones with the world of the living;

someone who can keep a distance from so much sorrow.


A workman passing time,

or perhaps Elijah moving under the moon and myriad stars.


I have to search for a stone.                                   

I must wander far before I find one

and return to my place of private grief.

But when I finally leave and approach the gate,

there are rows of headstones overgrown with weeds,                   

that are bare, so bare, of mourners' stones,

I find myself gathering rocks.                                  


Somewhere, someone is gathering six million stones,

a cenotaph of stones to remember, to mourn,

to keep ashes together and safe from blowing away.



Richard Fein Was A Finalist In The 2004 Center For Book Arts Chapbook Competition. He will soon have a chapbook published By Parallel Press, University Of Wisconsin, Madison. He has been published In many web and print journals such as Southern Review, Foliate Oak, DROWN IN MY OWN FEARS Morpo Review, Ken*Again   Oregon East Southern Humanities Review, Morpo, Skyline,Touchstone, Windsor Review, Maverick, Parnassus Literary Review, Small Pond, Kansas Quarterly, Blue Unicorn, Exquisite Corpse, Terrain Aroostook Review, Compass Rose and many others.


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