rare gathering of unbearable loveliness,
solstice, full moon, lunar perigee,
winter’s first day and shiva’s fourth,
midpoint of the first week’s mourning
in a year of grief
keen-edged and round.
When Ellen says my poems these days seem one seamless Kaddish,
I hear she understands the six months
before my father died were raw keen k’riah.
How June’s visit home I see his death
forming in the air he breathes.
Why every evening I call him
until there’s nothing left to say,
until all that remains—the sheer
pleasure of his company.
Elul. He weakens before my eyes,
no shofar blast required.
Tishrei. We daven
repetitions to dwell in meaning: who shall live
and who shall die, who in the fullness of years
We cross into wilderness, a new year,
pillar of fire before us, the old, the weak, the infirm
to the rear, Amalek plucking them one death
at a time.
Reservations for December.
My father says, “Come right now.” and I do.
A way is made.
Gathered to his people,
a story old as time.