by Karen Webber (Baltimore, MD)
I rehearse my own death each Yom Kippur.
Pearls nap in the jewelry box, shiny Mary Jane’s poke from
the rack and sackcloth stands in for silk.
I prefer not to sleep in a coffin, as I plan my funeral with
Sharon Olds reading her latest and the Emerson string
quartet playing Bartok.
Elul’s moon is weighted down by custard and should haves.
The corner of a shroud lifted by the wind whispers, “keep what
is precious and forget the rest.”
I beg you to do the same.
Speak with me, to me, thru me of forgiveness and of regret.
All I can leave you is this perfectly fragranced afternoon,
because my father sold all the good jewelry when my mother
died. I do have her half moon Seiko whose battery hasn’t
been changed in 20 years. Time stops.
But now, it is time to preheat the oven. To shape the
Portuguese sweet bread round as the moon and pull it fresh
from the oven steaming. It is time to invite my mother and
my father to sit down and break bread with me.
Death is my teacher and every fall I rehearse, as mine
marches closer. But for now, life.
Karen Webber is a Reform cantor, artist, and poet, whose poems and essays have been published in chapbooks, Lilith Magazine, and on-line at Voices of Eve. Her newest original program, “Keep on the Sunny Side,” is a musical conversation on positivity, loneliness, and relationships, which she created in partnership with the Mental Health Association of Maryland. To read more of her work, visit: https://issuu.com/richardholleman/docs/voiceofeve_issue11 (Pgs. 122-127)