Yellow – a poem by Morgan Driscoll

Yellow

They are saying Kaddish
but I can’t understand
in this room of family and friends so young;
where I am a stranger hearing words planned

at the hospice only yesterday.
Ancient syllables pass
through morning light, and pass
through a tide of yellow because she asked.

I don’t know this girl who died,
who asked for yellow
in our sleeves, and in our kerchiefs,
and in old ties worn, as voices echo

through dusted light, on children
who mourn and learn to mourn.
I am just acquaintance for a sudden task
a shoulder for my hosts summoned to learn

of service at the synagogue,
and shiva at the home.
I can’t translate through the chants
but for yisrael, but for shalom,

I can’t but I hear amen,
in men’s breath, on women’s sighs;
a blessing, a confusion, through adolescents
wearing clothes perhaps a size

too small, or dug from attics, but wearing
yellow somewhere because she asked.
In unison the sounds:
Yitgadal v’yitkadash,

I can’t understand so I glance
outside, watching butterflies
alit and yellow,
on a darkened mid-March branch.

 

Morgan Driscoll is a commercial artist looking to express himself in ways that do not involve selling things. Poetry seems the the form most expressive, and least mercenary, so he is giving it a try. When not running a business, or raising 5 children, or drinking coffee, he occasionally explores the spiritual, quickly losing his way and retreating back to the profane.

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