Poetry: Ezekiel 37 by Sean McQuinney

The Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones (Ezekiel 37) projects a mass resurrection of bones and death for the prophet Ezekiel—an incomprehensibly bold prophecy in today’s after-Auschwitz world, and one with which Sean McQuinney wrestles beautifully to find his voice and meaning as poet.


Ezekiel 37

They asked me, because I was a poet, how I planned
to scoop Babi Yar into my hands

and sort the dead from the earth
like pieces of knapped flint.

I had been caught pocketing them for myself–
every body wrapped tightly into a category.

Ashamed, I demurred by picking at the border fences
of Terezin and Treblinka as gracelessly

as I revise knee-high snow
from a Polish winter that I never touched.

I cannot breathe life into the clay, bone, and ash,
or animate faces twisted in final moments.

No matter how I turn the photographs,
they hold themselves guarded.

Sean McQuinney

Sean McQuinney is an MFA student at the University of Florida studying under Ange Mlinko, Michael Hofmann, and William Logan. Their first publications “Power Outage” and “Thanksgiving Weekend” are available in the Spring/Summer edition of the South 85.

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