Unlocking

Thinking of how Aunt Ann,
dying in Hebrew Rehab, was
visited daily by Rabbi Joel
where they'd chat for at least
an hour each time, as the Holy One
listened, watched, embraced.

So many frosty thou-shalt-nots
that Catholics of her generation
were saddled with. Over the years,
she knew some arctic-hearted priests
who tried to shove the Almighty
into a lockbox of unbending rules.

I try to imagine conversations.
between her and Rabbi Joel,
both over seventy, both certainly
able to recall the "good old days"
when interfaith dialogue
was an exchange of anathema

or, at best, genteel disdain,
suspicious side-eye glances.
I'm certain that their long talks
were much more congenial! ---
gratitude for each other's presence;
sharing of stories, prayers, hopes.

At Aunt Ann's wake, my cousin
told me about Rabbi Joel's visits.
I called Hebrew Rehab to get
his email, so I could thank him.
(During Aunt Ann's last days,
I was helping Mom, laid up

from knee-replacement surgery;
Mom and I never got to see her,
so I was happy that Aunt Ann
was not without human solace.)
The nice lady on the phone
told me, in the stilted phrasing

that professionals employ,
that Rabbi Joel was with Aunt Ann
"on the day she transitioned."
The lady gave me his email.
I wrote to him, and he answered
within minutes, so gracious,

saying that it was his privilege
to share shalom with her.
She died on Good Friday.
That was five years ago. I'd love
to meet Rabbi Joel someday,
at least, to shake his hand.





Poetry by Thomas D The PoetBay support member heart!
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Written on 2020-06-23 at 09:41

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Editorial Team The PoetBay support member heart!
Congratulations! Your text has been chosen to be featured on our home page by a fellow member of PoetBay. Thank you for posting on our poetry website!
2020-07-01


Lawrence Beck The PoetBay support member heart!
An engrossing story which almost overshadows some very fine writing.
2020-06-23


jim The PoetBay support member heart!
Reading this, which is so kind and gentle, makes me wonder, as I do too often, why it is so hard for people to get along when it's so much easier to be . . . kind and gentle.

I feel peaceful after reading this.
2020-06-23