At the funeral home
grandma threw herself on your coffin.
Maybe you weren't named right.
Death was confused, should have come
for her, for any of the old ones.
She pounded her head on the brass,
sobbing. The men had to pull her off,
and I felt nothing.
Aunt Florence dressed me as if
I were a child, rolling on nylons,
dropping the black sheath over me,
asking what shoes I would wear--
as if what a shoe was or why
one foot moves with the other
has any relationship to a world
with a dead sister.
It was cold in the synagogue,
I think, and the Rabbi said we
are all children of Israel, but Daddy
paid him after the burial and he left
for the train to New York.
I felt nothing anyway.
My mouth fumbled over Kaddish,
like a bad actor I forgot my lines.
Someone hugged me from behind
when they tore my black armband.
They said I cried then, just the once,
but the blessing of not feeling
is a gift in hardship, and now
when I finger that frayed black grosgrain,
I still feel nothing.
- Add a