Inside the yeshiva he’s busy naming things
while I, like Eve, watch the smallest movements
in the world — grass bending as if it aches,
a bird that carries lust in its beak.
Through the window I’ve seen him bent over
the text, saliva flying from his mouth
as he reads and debates, reads and debates,
the morning kiss of the phylactery
still faintly visible on his forehead.
Though he’s nourished by the play of words
and feels the heat of flame-tipped letters, at sundown
when he seeks the Sabbath bride, it is I who serve
the steaming food, I who inhale the pungent fume
as the matchtip wakes the candle and I set the fire free.
This work was published in “Stalking the Florida Panther” (The Word Works).
Enid Shomer is a widely published poet and fiction writer. Her most recent book is the novel “The Twelve Rooms of the Nile” (Simon & Schuster, 2012), which National Public Radio selected as one of the top six historical novels of 2012.