Siena, October 20, 1997
By Goldie Gendler Silverman
In the cathedral
In Siena
I light a candle
For my brother's birthday,
The sixty-seventh anniversary of his birth,
An age that he will never reach,
And I, younger sister, am older now than he will ever be.

This is a holy place.
The builders' faith, love, sweat, pain, and joy
So saturate the stones
That even I, a Jew who doubts that God exists,
Sense sanctification here.

If there is a God,
God knows why men light candles,
Build cathedrals.
But if there is no god,
What does my candle say?
Only that I miss you.


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