“Aveilut begins at the conclusion of the funeral and continues through the seven days of shiva.”

Bread goes in the breadbox, shoes
go in the shoebox, and you go
in the you-box, underground
to mellow like some fine wine.

On the first night, the elephant slumps
in the corner, stares, sometimes
waving his broad, shroud-like ears.
He brought his own bitter grapes

to crush, spraying the sour juice
on your sister, my best friend,
even your mother, her blond hair
and black veil. It becomes impossible

for me to tie my shoelaces, to keep
my teeth away from my fingernails,
to eat without immediately vomiting.
Wine cannot be poured back in the bottle

once it has mixed with water.
The elephant will not go away unless
I ask it politely. Which I won’t–
it is easier to leave and lock the door.


4 Responses to “Aveilut”

  1. Valerie says:

    Not sure why I haven’t posted this here before, since it’s already been shared elsewhere on the wide world of the interwebs. To my knowledge, it is also my first work ever plagiarized, by a total stranger, no less. I wrote it for my senior thesis in college, lo these many moons ago.

  2. V.R. Leavitt says:

    It’s beautiful!

  3. ganymeder says:

    That was great! Especially loved the rhythm of the first stanza.

  4. T.S. Bazelli says:

    “you go in the you-box” That was my favorite line from the poem. I love the mixture of images you used here!

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