"Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death's other kingdom
Remember us-if at all-not as lost"
Can one say kaddish in advance?
After all, yitagadal veyitkadash is in the imperfect tense
Or the jussive?
May His name be magnified, sanctified!
Each time I leave Jerusalem
I hug his slender frame
His bones more and more prominent
Wondering if this is the last time I feel him
His upright posture.
He too saw his father on that Viennese platform in 1938
Not knowing he would never see him again.
Now I replay this scene every time I leave Jerusalem.
An epigenetic wound I carry
A return to the primal scene of trauma
Played out in the next generation.
The pain is unbearable
The not-knowing insane
The slow decline observable now
A loss each visit of this or that.
This time a new unsteadiness on his feet
An ataxia of the soul readying for its dizzying flight to come.
He proudly shows me his new hobby
Having watched Mum, paint for years he has now taken up the art.
And drawing horse after horse in varying poses
His love of equus always expressed in my childhood
From dressage to that disturbing play in the West End
A psychic drama unfolding in the psychiatrist’s office
Of a young boy who violently enucleated a horse.
With a heart as heavy as a stone mountain
I take my leave
In the unknowing that characterizes my life more and more
As uncertainty bathes me like a dark shadow
In so many areas of my life
The only certainty is our mortality
And the slow dying of the leaves
In the chill of autumn.