When I come home from the cemetery --
tradition says put a pitcher and basin
outside, so when the mourners return
they can wash themselves clean. It's not
about the dirt. It's emotional, it's
spiritual, like washing that man
right out of your hair. When I came home
from burying you, those first hours were
like jetlag: what day is it? where am I
again? I remember the silver pitcher
we placed outside dad's front door (your
front door, but not yours any longer.)
But when I come home from the cemetery
not as a mourner but as the rabbi
I take the hottest shower I can stand.
I anoint myself with honey and lavender,
breathing deep. This is being alive, scent
and sensation. I let go everything
I've been carrying. It's still
a kind of jetlag: the soul catching up
with where the body has already been.
I wonder how long it took for your soul
to release from your body, that empty
shell we buried in the Texas earth.
When you wake in olam haba and finally
feel you've arrived, is it like
the first morning a new time zone is home?