The sun was rising in the east, we headed for Toronto.

The golden haze around the sun surprised

A sliver of hope that the summer was simmering somewhere

While here the curtain of grey cloud was pushed, it seemed. by the sun itself,

Lifting the heavens higher and further away from us.


We were driving to a funeral

The Sabbath would not wait

Nor burial on the day after death.

The rush of wind pushed against the car and kept it in this world.


First in the chapel, we sat near the front

Holding hands to keep us solid in this world

So no one slipped from off our human chain

Into the swirling river of despair that ran beneath our feet.


The casket closed, close relatives and friends crowded in.

The speeches spoke, what can one say?

The Sabbath will not wait

Nor burial on the day after death.


Praising god for his mercy,

We wept with pain of loss; someone’s gone forever

And with her a piece of us, shards of shared history

But Sabbath will not wait.


The procession pulls out, the parking lot empties.

We follow our parade through the streets of Toronto,

“Funeral” cards stuck in the hood like flags.

We are waving goodbye as she is gone and we stay; the sinking sun shines brightly.


The silent cemetery sits patiently and waits under rheumy blue skies;

Young Men of Apt still sit on benches like ghosts.

Little stone monuments like grey buildings in a large city stretch out by row

As we come to the empty grave and mound of dirt.


We praise god again and place her casket in the ground.

The cold white sun sends freezing rays to pierce our skin, the wind is blowing.

We cover the casket with dirt, doing for her the good deed that cannot be repaid,

The Sabbath cannot wait.


We turn away from the gravesite and walk slowly to our cars.

The wind holds us close to each other and forces us to live.

The shaking sob and wail of someone bereft reminds us we are left.

The Sabbath comes on, it pushes us forward.


We reach the home of our hosts and embrace on the doorstep.

We take off our shoes at the entrance and wash hands in the kitchen.

We embrace once more as the dog barks to go out.

We hold up time for a moment and hug as if to keep each other there.


But then the clock lurches forward, the dog goes out to the yard.

We unclench our hold on the past, we loosen our grip on the present.

I go down to the basement and wash the cemetery mud from off my shoes.

I come up as the sun sets in the west, the Sabbath arrives. 

“We’re back,” I say to our hosts and take my seat.