Tag Archives: Mourning



John Berry writes a poem
for his dear departed Mary
and reads it at all the open mics

It is a lovely poem
about parallel universes
and all the other ways
they might have met
or never met at all

He tells me that it changes
every time he reads it

which makes sense
since it is well known
that you can never step
in the same poem twice

I hear that it is also true of rivers



On the first anniversary of my mother’s death
I find myself in the middle of New Mexico
the day late, and a prayer short

I stop my Catholic nun friend, now
married and converted Jewish
and tell her of my plight

Also the hope that she
or her husband might have
some words to fit the occasion

The answer is yes, the word is Kaddish
and they are meeting with the Rabbi
to arrange the Friday Shabat supper

Myself, Dorsey, Paul, Maryrita and Dan
now five, the number of her children
sit in circle in the hotel lobby

Paul is a new Rabbi and a very sweet man
he forgets some of the words, Dan helps
I say “her Hebrew isn’t that good,
I don’t think she’ll mind”

I am touched that the prayer is of praise
and not of mourning, and the idea
that whatever good I might do,
my brothers and sisters too,
are her gifts to the world

This may be a poem about salt
there is something about salt
and her gift from our eyes
as we share