Poems by Leora Bard

The Shiva That Lasted An Hour

For My Brother

Why don’t you sit and watch Seinfeld for an hour?
why don’t you turn on Anderson Cooper?
do anything besides kill yourself
besides hurl yourself down flights of steps
besides try to forget you ever existed
distract yourself from dying
ask for forgiveness ten thousand times a day
wish for twelve rabbis at your wedding and call each rabbi up and leave a voice mail
your scars
build windows for me to look
out of
the milk of your mourning
sometimes I want to drown in it
you see dad buying flowers for the Shabbat table
though dad has never brought flowers and has been dead for two years
you say we will use your body to wipe up your blood
when you are gone
make you a place card for disaster
and all the names grandmother went by
will be in that ash
you think at your memorial service they will call your dying unnecessary
a sin
and the Shiva will only last an hour
and you will just be one of the souls butchered in the corner
sprawled out on the horizon
you can still smell the human on him
but don’t call him back from heaven
because I am comfortable here
he said





I wish I could unlearn my blood
this serving of skin
at the Shabbat table my heart hums in my feet
weekends loom like hard work
too many funerals for hands
(hands that loved forgetting what love felt like )
We practice musical eating
everyone shoves the challah into their mouth
trying to hold onto the rhythm of something
since in this revised version of love
daddy’s hand shakes as he holds the kiddush cup in his right hand
and mom’s leftover rage from breakfast in his other hand
we are waiting
for god to begin somewhere
I am listening
for the beginnings of an angel to crawl out of daddy’s back
because the words mother yells at the Shabbat table will hinge open bones
cause the heart to break itself backwards
at the table we lay in each others’ craters
we make each others’ bodies end
we sit at the table waiting for beans that never come
I am trying to unlearn my blood
in this revised version of love
daddy carries me on his toes
across the room
before we sit down to that Shabbat table
so I remember I will walk out of here someday




Leora Bard is a Jewish-American from Brooklyn, New York. She writes about Brooklyn, loss, grief, family and healing.



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