Devarim

person with backpack on standing outdoors looking out onto a misty sky with blurry landscape in the distance

“Everywhere you step

You are walking on bones,”

Said the man

On his bench

On the street

Across from a graveyard

With markers

Of totem poles.

 

It was on an island of death

That my mother

Visited me.

 

She was there

In the clock

On the wall,

In the former

Church-cum-lodge,

 

In Alert Bay,

The same,

As the one

In the kitchen of

My family-of-origin home

Albeit, a different color of plastic,

But cheap, nonetheless.

 

Its doorknobs

The same as the doorknobs at home

Although these ones could be locked.

 

Mark doubted me

That you, mom,

Were there, with me,

On the Island.

 

He didn’t hear the grandfather

With grandson,

Down by the water,

Call to his mutt,

“Here Teeka. Here.”

 

A dog named as my

Pet-name, for my mother.

“Sometimes,” I think,

“You can’t make this shit up.”

 

There were sparkles

Following in waves,

And eagles chattering in a tree,

And children dancing reclaimed steps

In the Big House

For the sake of visitors

Who didn’t even know what to ask

And three graveyards filled

With people

Who were younger

Than me.

 

Trauma walks around

The Mount

Until it’s time for leadership

To Pass.

 

“You are not selfish,”

My rabbi wrote to me,

“It is that you

Actually have a self.”

 

Sometimes words really aren’t mole-hills,

Sometimes words become mountains,

Best to abandon.

 

It’s been more

Than 40 years since

I left “home.”

 

Ask me what I want to carry,

But don’t be surprised when I say,

“Nothing.”

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