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5 Extra Minutes During Shloshim (An Ode to Not Shaving)

I’ve got five extra minutes during shloshim
When on most days I would have been shaving
I’ve got five extra minutes during shloshim
As a consequence of how I’m behaving

I’m letting the hair grow forth from my face
As my sadness and solace keep pace
The tearing inside ebbs and flows
Like the torn ribbon once pinned on my clothes

That torn fabric no longer will sit
Atop the breast of my shirt or my coat
But beneath, my heart’s torn asunder
And a cry still gets caught in my throat

So my beard I let grow as it chooses
As I go through my morning ablutions
As I try to recharge my inner juices
As I attend to my emotional bruises

As the world turns back to its norm
Do I look like an ancient recluse?
Stepping back, licking wounds, saying prayers
Inching forward in a life still reduced

Yes, I’ve got five extra minutes during shloshim
When on most days I would have been shaving
I’ve got five extra minutes during shloshim
For the memories that this mourning’s engraving

What to do with those five extra minutes
Shall I reflect, shall I mourn, shall I pray?
Shall I read, advocate or relax?
With what intention shall I refocus my day?

In the five minutes I choose to withdraw
To remember the things that I saw
As his child, the challenges and the joy
Of being his son, his eldest boy

In those five extra minutes each morning
My heart seems to have much to say
As I wade through the emotional debris
Until I shave again on thirtieth day

 

**Shloshim refers to the 30 days after the funeral when a mourner slowly expands the place within the community


Explore more poetry about mourning Papa (my dad, Ken Kipnes).

Watch my videos about mourning

Enjoy more of my spoken word poetry

 

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