Poem for Jerry Rabinowitz
Under the snow, the crisp clean white snow, under the leaves and the grass and the mud, and clay and rocks and under the sand sprinkled so lovingly under the plain pine board and the star under the tallis under the crisp, white linen and the knots lovingly tied
are you resting?
Are you quietly looking up?
Is your brow now unfurrowed, are your wounds now at peace?
Can you see up through the dark to the bright blue of a winter sky, or is it forever autumn when you dream? Do you see up to the bird on the bare branch, who sings
— piercing the quiet home wood?
Maybe you sit next to him and toss your head back and laugh like only you can do. You say to him, “Hi Bir ” always making a nickname for every person you greet making them feel like they are welcome, a friend of yours, even if they’re new.
Where will we find you? Can you really be gone to us?
Impossible to contemplate a world so changed.
Would you be forgiving — would you find a way to understand the impossible?
We will watch the snow melt, and the leaves raked and the mud and clay flatten down and the grass seed take hold growing green over dirt and rocks and stones and sand.
We will stand around you circling you, and holding you in our hearts while we snip at cloth, uncovering stone, and words and letters unveil your name and sing to you like the bird on the branch (with leaves now) and leave now to carry on
and be a little better and be a little sadder
and remember to greet newcomers with a smile, and a nickname and make them feel we are already their friend.
Ellen Leger is the wife of Dan Leger, who was shot in the Tree of Life massacre last October, along with their dearly loved friend Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz. Jerry didn’t survive. Ms. Leger is a volunteer coordinator for JFCS / AgeWell, a social services nonprofit organization, and lives in Squirrel Hill with her Dan, who is recovering day by day.