This Sabbath eve you struggle as you enter
rest. Morphine slides shut the doors
and opens them; we glimpse another room,
inside this one, in which you try to give
your name back to the Nameless.
Your parched body closes, you spiral inward,
speaking in consonants without the breath of vowels.
The rabbi sweeps his hand over the congregation
from right to left, and the names of the dying,
the desperate, drop from our lips and fly across
the sanctuary. The yarzeit board shines cold
electric constellations, old loves turned in their
sockets. You will lie on that brass bed in raised
letters; young hands will light you and keep you.
Outside the full moon shuts with a scud of cloud
yielding and rising and yielding to the wind.
I measure time by how you wax and wane;
my Sabbath prayers wind around grief.
For the rest of my life I will rise for you
in the kaddish of the mourner, which is praise,
which is what remains when nothing else remains.
You will not lift your face to me again.
Your last hours turn as I come to the ark.
I open my arms to receive you, the weight
of who you are, completed. You are covered
in silver, breastplate a polished moon.
I take up the pointer to read out your days.
I loose the band that holds the holy scroll.
Kristin Camitta Zimet