Saturday, September 21, 2013

Singing Kaddish

Because my friend is dying
I went on to the land she loves
            To say Kaddish for my mother,
Under fir trees, through overgrown thistles
Past the echoing barn,
The last holdouts of summer blackberries,
Following a horse trail,
            a goat trail,
            a deer trail,
            a labyrinth carved by the generations: Exodus.

A cricket told me where to rest,
There by the single daisy,
            the Queen Anne’s lace.
Thorns snatched at the fringes of my prayer shawl.
I prevailed.

We do prevail, said the twilight.
We prevail from our ashes,
            in the sea
            in the cedar grove
            on the mount
            on the mountain
at the wall
at the wailing of the day.

I traced the Aramaic letters,
            stumbling like a stranger to my own faith.
And then, as if in the beginning,
A voice rose up through me,
A song that made itself up as it went.

This memory is all I have of you.
This moment is all we have ever had of one another.
This grief is a verb.
This peace is always, always becoming what it will be.

Deborah J. Ross
17 Tishrei 5774

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