I know I must have talked with you
after unveilings for relatives
or friends, but I don't remember
what you had to say. Probably
we talked about shopping or haircuts
or Shabbes dinner, what Marie Howe
called "what the living do."
When you drove out of a cemetery
you moved on, but part of me still
hasn't left where we buried you.
Soon we'll gather to bless the slab
that marks the spot. Did you know
the tradition that says we stop
saying kaddish after eleven months
because only wicked souls require
a full year of kaddish to ascend
and we wouldn't want to imply
you weren't righteous? I think
you'd laugh and say whatever works
for us is fine by you, then ask
where we're going for lunch after
and what kind of shoes I'm planning.
Almost eleven months now I've been
writing to you, each line a monument
to memory. These poems,
the pebbles I leave on your stone.