July 15th Birthday Love: Abraham Sutzkever

Abraham Sutzkever, right, before World War II in Vilnius, Lithuania. | JTA

A Remarkable Friendship Exists

A remarkable friendship exists, when both friends
inhabit different centuries, different countries.
People meet like wandering roots beneath
tree trunks split in two: Are you that friend? –Yes, I am she.

There is a friendship akin to biblical scrolls, which you find
in caves and which joy and tenderness can unwind.
Unfurl it—Then it will narrate our saga too. Otherwise,
it will flake away and fall to pieces in your fingers.

There is a friendship stronger than love, than hate,
twinned by fate, they must accompany each other:
When trained hounds sniff out a hiding place
and one friend could escape, yet he remains with the other.

Creator, you have gifted me friends of all sorts,
and among them a special one, who remains most devoted:
At dawn, he will rise early to water my garden
so I may distribute his grapes to the spirits.

-Abraham Sutzkever

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