Looking at Your Place: Making a Memory (WN Entry)

Everyone who attended George Ella Lyon‘s Session on Saturday Morning had the opportunity to make a memory after thinking about a drawing a floor plan of a home they’ve lived in. I went through the entire first floor of my parents’ house and listed one memory from each of those places, including the garage and the laundry room, which were not gim’-mes. I picked the front porch memory and explored that memory by taking a sensory inventory of it using all five of my senses. Lyon encouraged us to “get into your body” by saying what you had on, how old you were, etc. Then, after some additional instructions, she encouraged us to free write. I wrote a poem about coming back from the cemetery the day of my Grandma’s funeral, which was on Sunday, 3/25/07. This is only the second draft, so I’m open to suggestions on how to make it better.

Family and friends stand on line
as if they’re waiting
to check out at Stop & Shop.

I proceed to the front
of the line
hoping to remove
the cemetery residue
from my hands.

Why does washing the hands symbolize the washing away of death?

Everyone stands in silence
with nothing other than the click of our shoes
touching the concrete
making a sound.

Three bursts of water
slosh onto my left hand.
I shift the pitcher
to my right hand —
Three ore bursts,
this time some of it
slaps onto the concrete porch floor.

Why does washing the hands symbolize the washing away of death?

Marc hands me a paper towel.
I need it since
the water was chilly
having been outside while we were at
Beth Israel.
I reach for it
and let it wick away the cool droplets
that remain on my hand.

Barukh ata Ha-shem
Eloheinu melekh ha‑olam
asher kid’shanu
b’mitzvotav
v’tzivanu
al n’tilat yadayim.

Why does washing the hands symbolize the washing away of death?

I sniffle.
I open the creaky front door
and enter my parents’ house
supposedly ready to eat delicatessen
since I’m
supposedly cleansed of the cemetery.

I realize that washing my hands
does not wash away
the sadness
of loosing my Ebubbey.

Photos of Grandma (aka: Ebubbey) when she was well: