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Charles Chaim Wax


Not Yet Dust and Ashes


I’m sitting at the table
in the living room
with my sister, her daughter and husband
and her friend Sarah
everyone gathered for a
Rosh Hashanah dinner
Even though the holiday
falls late this year,
October 3rd and 4th,
the weather is still hot
and we talk about
the brutal summer
perhaps a hint of what is to come
and how if the Polar caps melt
all of Florida will be underwater
which includes my sister’s son
who just bought a house there.
The doorbell rings
My sister gets up to answer.
Sarah says, “Well, Steve,
whatta you recommend for depression? ”
“Still got that, ” I say stupidly.
“Data entry all day is
driving me insane.”
My sister is talking
to someone at the door.
Howard, her husband,
gets up to see what’s going
on, who’d be interrupting
the Rosh Hashanah dinner.
“Menopause
doesn’t help any, ”
says Sarah.
My sister returns,
her face strained,
I know her well enough—
something happened
at the door.
“Claire wanted me to
hook up her bra,
said the girl who cares for her
forgot to do it,
that she had an appointment
at the beauty parlor for nine,
all dressed up she was,
ready to go out.”
“Now? ” I said.
“She must have dozed off
got up
then thought this was nine
in the morning.
I told her
Claire
this is at night
She was so embarrassed.
“She’s losing her mind, ” declared Sarah.
“No! ” my sister said,
“No! ”
Well my sister had every right not to
want Claire to disappear
after all she’d been living
next to her for fifty years
and Claire’s husband
dead at eighty-five
less than six months ago
now alone
two children, yes,
but alone
so morning and evening
day and night
life and death
for each essence
in motion
all one. Then suddenly
“SHE’S STILL ALIVE, ”
my sister shouted,
then more quiet
even serene
“that’s all that matters.”

Submitted: Tuesday, November 01, 2005

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