30 December 2008

We Never Buried Her

The rabbi told me, I drop everything for a funeral.
It must be within 24 hours.
No one forgives a rabbi who doesn’t show up for a funeral.

For the family,
Saying kaddish after the burial,
For seven days,
Or thirty days,
On each yahrtzeit,
It’s the most you can do for a person.
A kindness she can never repay.
A kindness you do expecting nothing.

But we didn’t bury her.
And a funeral,
We didn’t do that, either.
She is on my aunt’s mantel.
In some kind of vessel.
In ashes.

In nine years I have often forgotten her yahrtzeit,
So I make sure to say kaddish for her
On our birthday.


  1. so i really like the twist on line three. the sarcasm sets the whole tone. would help if i knew what a kaddish was, then i could tell if first verse is meant to be ironic or bitter or both. i'm not sure if i want it to be or dont want it to be, but i'm curious.

    "our birthday"?

  2. Kaddish is a prayer that celebrates and is thankful for life, and we say a special kaddish in memory/honor of someone who has died. It doesn't mention death.

    Grandma and I were both born on Feb 5th.

    Thank you for your comments and questions! Constructive criticism is always welcome!