Pamela Wax is a rabbi, poet, aunt, sister, wife, friend, and a passionate teacher and student of Mussar, a Jewish spiritual practice of character development. Her essays on Judaism, spirituality, and women’s issues have been published broadly, and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Pensive Journal, Heron Tree, Green Ink Poetry, CCAR Journal, Awakenings Review, Paterson Literary Review, and Spread the Word: A Pandemic Open Mic Anthology. Her first volume of poetry, Walking the Labyrinth is forthcoming from Main Street Rag. She lives in the Bronx, NY and the Northern Berkshires of Massachusetts.
The World’s a Shaky Stage
It took two and a half years
for my brother to reach me by dream
despite the incubation prayers
I’d hoped would bring him sooner,
the same prayers I share with clients
who hope their deceased might come
onstage for a cameo or a starring
role in the middle of the night.
When he finally arrived,
the leading man in that night’s drama,
I wanted to enter stage-left to hug him,
but it wasn’t in the script, like when
I met my sister the next day, live
and masked, and we could not touch,
either. I woke up wishing I’d ad-libbed,
broken that fourth wall, to embrace him.
It was the opening night of Sukkot,
a night to ponder feeble structures
like thatched huts, hope,
and family, delicate things
that fate and wind might topple.
For now, memory holds steady,
my body remembers the smell
of his aftershave, the scratch of his beard.