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



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,


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

Ritualwell content is available for free thanks to the generous support of readers like you! Please help us continue to offer meaningful content with a donation today. 

Related Rituals

Shop Ritualwell - Discover unique Judaica products

The Reconstructionist Network

Serving as central organization of the Reconstructionist movement

Training the next generation of groundbreaking rabbis

Modeling respectful conversations on pressing Jewish issues

Curating original, Jewish rituals, and convening Jewish creatives

Jewish Spiritual Autobiography

 Writing a spiritual autobiography helps you to discover how teachers, touchstones, symbols and stories have led you to make meaning and understand the sacred in your personal story. In this immersion, join Ritualwell’s Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer, a writer and spiritual director, to map out and narrate your most sacred life experiences. Four sessions starting May 16, 2024. 

Get the latest from Ritualwell

Subscribe for the latest rituals, online learning opportunities, and unique Judaica finds from our store.

The Reconstructionist Network