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Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman walks with me
down the street, holds
doors open for me, whispers

in my ear: You can do nothing and be nothing but
what I will infold you.
Whitman, how good it feels, your

love, the perfect love of poets and
fathers, after they’re gone. Illness
outran my father’s

mind, so he could not hold
doors open for me.
Whitman grieves with me. The father,

he says, holds his grown or ungrown son
in his arms with measureless love.
But did he, Whitman, did your father hold

you in his arms? Together
we decide nothing
is more desirable than love from the dead.


Some Deaths

           Some deaths are buried in
shame, like a gravestone
is buried in leaves. These
           are the stones that no one
kneels before, not to pray,  
not to clear away

           debris. Somewhere,
someone wishes to see
the stone turn from gray

           to white in winter. They
imagine the name
carved in the granite, as if

           in the cursive of god.
They would pass  
their fingers along each

           letter, scratch the dirt
from the letters with
their nails, speak

           aloud to the fallen,
if only shame had not buried
the dead in silence.  


Dara Barnat’s poetry appears in Poet Lore, Salamander, Crab Orchard Review, Flyway, The Collagist, and elsewhere. Her poetry translations (from Hebrew) appear or are forthcoming in Bridges: A Jewish Feminist Journal, International Poetry Review, and Lilith. In 2009, Dara’s chapbook, Headwind Migration, was released by Pudding House Publications. She has received a poetry scholarship from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Dara’s PhD is from Tel Aviv University, where she teaches poetry and creative writing in the faculty of English and American Studies. Dara keeps a blog where she writes about writing her current book project: mybookandi.wordpress.com.