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The Last Photo

December 22, 2019


I think this was it, the last one

Taken of my brother and me. 

Twelve years after my Bar

Mitzvah, one day after New Year’s,

A day before my 25th birthday. 

We looked like normal brothers,

Twelve years apart, trying to look 

Serious over the Torah scrolls. 

I am holding the yad, Kenny looks 

Kind of bored but completely fearless.

We must have believed then 

in the promise of a New Year.

Today, 38 years later, 


I am practicing Shemot’s 

Haftorah, that Parshah

With baby Moses in the river,

The burning bush, and “Let my people go.”

My Golden Bar Mitzvah is on January 18,

The day my granddaughter Talia turns 2. 

I can’t remember that day 50 years ago 

And can’t find my Bar Mitzvah book

But I found Kenny’s album and stare now, 

Remembering the ghosts of Kenny’s 

Bar Mitzvah, our aunts, uncles, cousins, our Zadeh, mom and dad, and the phone call 

seven months later, 


The speeding car to Botsford Hospital, 

the waiting, then the

White coat approaching, his hollow voice

Breaking our little world, 

Our spirits forever shattered. 

What happened in between these years, 

All those who perished while we weren’t 

Paying attention? As I prepare to

Read something I chanted and forgot

At age thirteen, the same age

Kenny will always remain,

His short, thin frame, the

Dark brown beautiful hair, 


Angular handsome face,

His mischievous laugh

Underneath the surface, 

I can barely hear his unheard

Voice so distant, our family

Mesmerized by the gift 

Of his timbre, his words, his life.

Beyond the 1982-quality video

Of the Bar Mitzvah party, 

This photo is all that’s left from ’82 

Of just my brother and me.

I guess I have no choice. I must 

Hold onto this gift forever.

From → Uncategorized

  1. Francis permalink

    I was very moved by this. Well done.

  2. It is so hard to lose anyone but a sibling that shares so much of our same treasures is so hard. May your brother RIP & May you carry his memory and pass on his wonderfulness to others.

    • aggman permalink

      Thanks for the nice words. I heard your son at Bais Chabad a few weeks ago and felt his words strongly as well, as I know what pain you and your family have suffered.

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