Pogroms and Shoahs

S. Preston Duncan


The old men were tying tzitzit around
the edges of evening.

I remember them smiling
in the gunmetal gray
of mumbled prayer
as though holding something
between their teeth.

That’s how we
were taught to pray –
like we were lacing up the boots
of dead men

learning to laugh.




S. Preston Duncan is a writer, caregiver, and BBQist in Richmond, Virginia, and is currently training as an End of Life Doula. A spiritual mutt (read: half Jewish, half Americana music), he is a denominational Antifascist Southern River Rat and devout pilgrim of coastal climes. Recent aspirations include becoming the Jason Isbell of literature, stealing death’s laughter, and transcendental pimento cheese. He is the former Senior Editor of local arts and culture publication RVA Magazine. His work has appeared in Bottom Shelf Whiskey and RVA Magazine (no, not while he was editor).