A Little Death

By Daniel J. Webster

The procession descends
Yarmulkes of crepe
Are tossed into the waste
And the urn is shoved into its niche
Graced with elegant Hebrew script
That you’d barely learned to lisp
On high holidays, and once
When you were told to say
“Today I am a man.”
You did not live in poetry
Or such high thoughts
Of your father’s faith.
But the sands you have become
Have stopped their run
And ceased to shift
In this unwanted place
One of a thousand
Ersatz Mount Zions.

Down the years
We will find a way
Who knew the man, not the boy
Touch the glass
And leave behind
The streaks of some unsullied
Private memory
There at the edge
In the curve of your shoulder
Holding someone’s head.
To the left is laughter
So hard it breaks into tears,
And further below
Your face shows
Pillowed, just before the dawn
You breathe in
And pull the blanket’s cloak
Over us both
To bring the morning on.

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