Mourner's Kaddish

by Randi Abel about a year ago in sad poetry

For My Zaide

Mourner's Kaddish

Mourner’s Kaddish






You came to me in dreams

when neither one of us was lucid



you held my hand as we drove

into the sunset of your life.

Me already mourning,

you already moving on

I remember the night

you stood up out of your chair

and stayed Jeff’s fist,

told him not to hit his son.

You said you made mistakes,

had regrets

You were the greatest man alive that night

When we gave the little ones wine

and sang “Dayenu,”

I was happy then.

We ate candied yams and Bubbe’s chicken,

all of us together,

you at the head of the table,

leading us,

as you always led us

My cousin cried

when she saw my father

sitting in your empty chair,

the house so full of people,

and yet so empty.

Even our collective loneliness

could not fill it up

You came to me in a dream

and told me to go to my family

The night I slept in your bed,

she reached out to me in the dark,

grabbed my arm and said,

“I’m so glad you’re here;

I didn’t want to be alone.”

And then I knew why you had sent me

When I awoke from my last dream

and knew you were gone,

I thought I was okay.

I felt solid, like the wood

of the ancient trees I see in California,

like the mountains that divided us.

But later,

locked in the handicapped stall

of the airport bathroom,

I sobbed,

hysterical and alone

I needed you then.

Needed God.

And so you sent me three women

who offered to pray with me

and comfort me,

and told me my tears were a

gift from God

to help me grieve.

They calmed me,

and soothed me,

and I boarded the plane

a convert to miracles

When I rose

and threw my shovelful of dirt

onto your grave,

the earth hit your plain pine box

with a thud,

like the slam of a door

Now that you are gone,

I no longer grieve for you,

though sometimes

I am surprised

when you don’t pick up the phone

I hope you got my letter,

the one I wrote

while you were dreaming

I hope you’re dancing in the sky

*Blessed, praised, glorified, exalted, extolled

sad poetry
Randi Abel
Randi Abel
Read next: Poem: New Life
Randi Abel

Poet and storyteller currently based out of Denver, Colorado.

See all posts by Randi Abel