M. E. Silverman on Poets Cafe

The following interview of M. E. Silverman by Lois P. Jones originally aired on KPFK Los Angeles (reproduced with permission).

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Biographical Information—M. E. Silverman

M. E. Silverman is editor and founder of Blue Lyra Review and Review Editor of Museum of Americana. He is on the board of 32 Poems and is a reader for Spark Wheel Press. His chapbook, The Breath before Birds Fly (ELJ Press, 2013), is available. His poems have appeared in over 75 journals, including: Crab Orchard Review, 32 Poems, December, Chicago Quarterly Review, North Chicago Review, Hawai’i Pacific Review, Tupelo Quarterly, The Southern Poetry Anthology, The Los Angeles Review, Tulane Review, Weave Magazine, Many Mountains Moving, Pacific Review, Poetica Magazine and other magazines. He recently completed editing Bloomsbury’s Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry with Deborah Ager and is working on Voices from Salvaged Words: An Anthology of Contemporary Holocaust Poetry. (www.mesilverman.com)


Finding my Father’s Kinnor

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.

—Originally published in the Tupelo Quarterly