“The Walls Are Too High” by Deborah Schnitzer

The walls are too high
Broken finger-nail talk
Runs down the well
And Jacob’s children are so thin
They hardly matter.

Flyers stuffed in mailboxes
Even note paper is thicker, lasts longer
Than children scrawled from blocks of the ghetto.

Cinders shave the well’s dry wall.

Nothing rises.

Joseph has taken in his brothers.
He can read the writing-on-the-wall in his sleep.
But, he cannot get to Pharoah;
He cannot even get to the corner stores; nothing is saved.

So, the dream’s gain grows against him,
Against the ribbed oesophagus to the well.
Against the saucers of his brothers’ dried bellies.
There is nothing to eat.
Hate sets the table at the bottom of the well.