What Remains

Thirty-six years of stammering through the heavy Aramaic,
just like the first time when you were lined up in the cinderblock

basement of your shul, torn black ribbons pinned to your winter coats
piercing tiny holes in the fabric, everyone searching your faces

for signs of grief, but you were simply children, unsure of the words 
you had to say. It just became your life, your house always lit up like

Paris at night because you were afraid of the darkness splicing
time ever again. Now older than he was then, friends have lost parents,

you are no longer the youngest ones bereft, and there are so many others
to mourn. What remains: his cigar box cracked after so many journeys,

no longer smelling of Havanas, void of the paper rings you would slip on your fingers,
pretending to be brides. For a time you could still hear the Brooklyn in his voice,

calling Gil, Dave, Joey, Cooper, the five of them playing pinochle at the
big table, cigar smoke clouding the room, your father always dealing the cards.

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