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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 6, Number 4, December 2012

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Gerry Jacobson
Canberra, Capital Territory, Australia


Kaddish

Ever-rolling clouds over the cemetery. The Jews of north London lie here side by side, close together, in dead straight rows. Not in family groups but mixed up, their final affinity is tribal. Is my dad here? I search, and find his plain marble slab. It’s more than fifty years since. But I must have been here before! As a young boy I must have said the mourner’s Kaddish prayer as his coffin was lowered. I say it now—“May His Great Name Be Exalted . . . !”

spices . . .
the sweet aroma
of Shabbat . . .
fingernails in the flame
cup of wine overflowing

On the marble headstone the words “God rest his sweet soul, his dear soul . . . !” Perhaps written by my mother in her anguish at her loss, at our loss. It’s so long ago and I’m much older than he ever was. I look on a man of 46 as quite young now.

noticing
glitter on his hair
in slanting sunlight—
my little blond-haired boy
is going grey

I close my eyes, remember his faint tobacco smell as I clambered over him with the other children. I can feel his dark frizzy hair. And in my dreams he never died. All my life, that recurrent dream. He hadn’t really died, just shot through for a while, and we find him again. All my life that longing!

shortening days
when the sun shines gold
feeling the chill
the shadow of loss
I stifle my grief


Author’s Note: The tanka “noticing” was first published in Magnapoets 4 (2011).

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