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January 18, 2006

Seventeen years in your house
makes it strange to have you
in mine, heels of your fine
polished shoes clattering
against my New England floors.

I want so badly to please you
that the countertops ache
from repeated scrubbing.
Fresh flowers on every table,
water in the carafe by the bed.

By tomorrow we’ll argue
politics again, each stunned
by the unconsidered policies
the other promotes, but
let me enjoy today to its fullest.

I marvel that you are with me.
Your aftershave and your cigar smoke,
they comfort me. Surely
your voice will be with me
all of the days of my life.

By Rachel Barenblat of
Velveteen Rabbi

Categories: Finding Home Tags:
  1. January 18, 2006 at 6:55 am

    I love that last stanza.

  2. January 18, 2006 at 7:58 am

    This made me cry, especially the last stanza. Thanks, Rachel.

  3. January 18, 2006 at 9:00 am

    Beautifully evocative! I am moved…

  4. January 18, 2006 at 9:14 am

    Oh Rachel. Oh. This is wonderful. And yes, the last stanza. Oh. (forgive my incoherence. It’s the highest form of flattery. One of them, anyway).

  5. MB
    January 18, 2006 at 12:29 pm

    Oh. Yes.

  6. January 18, 2006 at 5:41 pm


  7. January 18, 2006 at 6:00 pm


    Oh, wow.

  8. January 18, 2006 at 9:41 pm

    The timing of this post is remarkable, editors; my father is coming to the Berkshires tomorrow, for his annual visit to my house. It was after just such a visit that this poem was drafted…

    Thanks for the kind words, all.

  9. January 18, 2006 at 10:24 pm

    This reminds me of my relationship with my own father. In the end, it is not the differences that matter; it’s the aftershave and cigar smoke, the comfort of the voice that trails you everywhere.

    Beautiful, Rachel.

  10. January 19, 2006 at 6:26 am

    Very affecting. My favorite kinds of poems are always those that allow me to taste and see through another’s senses – radical empathy. This one gave me a very clear sense of what it might be like to have a parent with whom one had strong philosophical disagreements, something I’ve never experienced. Thanks.

  11. January 19, 2006 at 12:46 pm

    This brought me to tears, too. Thank you.

  12. January 21, 2006 at 3:00 am

    More tears here. Wow.

  13. January 22, 2006 at 6:07 am

    … and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

    Just wonderful, tears in my eyes.

  14. January 23, 2006 at 6:24 pm

    Rachel – Wonderful. And I hope your visit goes as well.

  15. January 27, 2006 at 3:22 pm


  16. January 28, 2006 at 3:58 pm


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