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Americans don’t know how to grieve; possibly all Americans ever do

is grieve. I remember All-American grief growing up in the Bush years.

Letting the water run cold over my head while repeating words I thought

were prayer. Our dad had a meeting in that building that day, but one of us

was sick and he stayed home. Now he checks that every toilet has stopped

refilling before he leaves the house, like I double back to tap the mezuzah,

say I love you to the cat. Balance my feet on the sidewalk cracks. Being alive

feels different now that I’ve scooped a loved one’s ashes into a cookie jar.

In the Jewish section of the cemetery, the boy with our family’s name died

on the 14th anniversary of his birth, to the hour and minute, and I kept

my calendar flipped to October 28th for a year before [   ] died that day.

Wanting us to be born on Texas soil, our dad stuck a jar of dirt under

the hospital bed. Always bring an umbrella, mom says, and it won’t rain.

Though it poured at her wedding, my twin sister was a beautiful bride.