Your mother would say, don't
bring the geese into the kitchen,
and you would, and with a faint
smile, lead them out again in your
muddy shoes.  It was a glimmer your
father noticed, more than your features
or your small cough, before his little
comet illumed and was gone.

A scratch on the wall, and your hand
fell to the side.  It's all on paper, the place
and time, the family grief, and the thin dark
heart I carry with me, with your picture inside.

At a certain point onward,
Kafka said, there is no turning back.
That is the point that must be reached.

In the third week of June, the temple
caretaker greets me in hushed tones.
He says, Dave's boy, come in.  Sit by me.
Now say with me, May God remember the
soul of my honored mother, who is gone
to her repose; for that I now solemnly
offer charity for her sake; in reward of
this, may her soul enjoy eternal life,
with the souls of Abraham, Isaac and
Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and
Leah, and the rest of the righteous males
and females that are in Paradise; and
let us say, amen.

Good, the caretaker says, Now come
with me to the back, by the table, and sit,
and I'll give you some honey cake to
sweeten your life.