Sunday, April 3, 2011

My Grandfather's Yahrtzeit

My Grandfather's Yahrtzeit
Marian Kaplun Shapiro

8:15 LA Time. 31 May, 1955. Dead. Declared.
Pronounced by The Doctor. Name: Edward (Issak) Kaplun
DOB: 18 April, 1880. C/O: Russia. Data entered.
Filed. Printed on request, for a small fee.
Birth/ Immigration/ Marriage/ Divorce/ Death.
You were There. You were Here.
You were Gone.
Did you know you were going? Did you leave
by starlight, on a golden comet? by flying
carpet? by galleon, sailing into the celestial fog?
As a fantastic dreambird playing Mendelsohn
on your violin? Or chanting the Shema, answering
the sweet tenor voice of the ancient cantor
come to lead you out?
I have my own story. I think
you took the red eye all the way to me,
sleeping in The Bronx. I think you blew
on my forehead. I think you whispered that
you loved me, that you would go with me
in every note I sang, or played, or heard. Live,
you said. Live.


Marian Kaplun Shapiro is the author of a professional book, Second Childhood (Norton, 1988), a poetry book, Players In The Dream, Dreamers In The Play (Plain View Press, 2007) and two chapbooks: Your Third Wish, (Finishing Line, 2007); and The End Of The World, Announced On Wednesday (Pudding House, 2007). As a Quaker and a psychologist, her poetry often addresses the embedded topics of peace and violence, often by addressing one within the context of the other. A resident of Lexington, she was named Senior Poet Laureate of Massachusetts in 2006, in 2008, and in 2010.

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