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You Won’t Be There these High Holy Days

You won’t be there these High Holy Days
I’m thinking about all you will miss
Or more precisely, about what I must face –
I call it my own Yizkor list:

You won’t be standing at the door
On this next Yom Kippur morn
Waiting to drive with me to shul
Oy, how my heart will be torn

You won’t be there in your blue sports jacket
With your velvet Tallit bag in hand
From now on I’ll drive to shul all alone …
That’s not how I had it planned

You won’t be standing in row six,
Guarding our family’s seats
As the chorale rehearses, as I run about,
As you warmly greet all who you meet

You won’t be sitting during the service
Sporting your big warm grin
You won’t be beaming about “my son, the rabbi”
Before I even begin

You won’t be there to claim your credit
Joking you wrote the sermons for me
You won’t be shaking hands at the end
Enjoying the praise of Or Ami

You won’t be there at break-the-fast,
As we bid High Holy Days farewell
You won’t be there when we recall highlights
I won’t get to hear you kvell

You won’t be there to build the sukkah
As we’ve done since I was a kid
You won’t be passing out your homemade fudge
To my annual gathering of yids

You won’t be there these High Holy Days
Never again and never more
I’ll meet you only in my dreams,
And during the service at Yizkor

I’ll be a mourner at temple this time
I’ll skip leading Yizkor this year
But in my mind I will hold onto your hand
And I won’t hold back my tears


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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