Twenty-Five

The bees did not buzz

at your funeral

But the sun sounded

like static

or socks rubbing against carpet

My black shoe traced

a Star of David in the crackling grass

like the one on your coffin

and my body felt like a rock

resting in someone’s quivering palm

You would have laughed

to see us all together like that

murmuring the Mourner’s Kaddish

in our ridiculous blackness

Tossing handfuls of earth

on that long wooden box

that will never contain

the Unfinished You

The Rabbi recalled

calling you to the Torah

then he called you an “unfinished symphony”

He called us to prayer

and we answered

But for days I will be

unable to write without feeling

your clean hands

surprising my shoulders

and every laugh echoing

under the bridge where I skip stones

will make my heart skip

a beat

They say that sex

and death

are the only worthy topics of poetry

but you left your grieving lover

to write about the first

And these days I regret that I never wrote

about your starched syllables and

ironed phrases

The rain did not fall

at your funeral

We joked that our tears were enough

to quench the ruthless

thirsting earth

Now drinking you deeply

on some evening porch

without me

I do not know

how to conclude anything

but I suppose one day

your still-singing stanzas will fade

and I will return to a more

barren reality

Laughing

but only because you’d want me to

—Heather Paul

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