Ritualwell

Tradition & Innovation

Olam Hazeh

hand holding tiny baby hand
My youngest child does not eat.
We used to feed her with syringes of breast milk,
a gloved finger in her mouth.
At four months, she decided to dabble
in breastfeeding.
 
At synagogue for Rosh Hashanah,
she nursed under my tallit,
her gulps awkward and precious.
My oldest child danced in the aisles,
swift and agile, creating
boundaries for the world around.
 
Are they conversing with G!d?
Here we are!
they say.
 
She stopped nursing     for good
before the blast of the last shofar.
We went home to eat dinner,
my wife remarking,
I’ll give her a bottle.
 
My daughter used to get sick every day,
her body rejecting the PediaSure.
Now we feed her with feigned disinterest
as if she will drink more,
if ignored.
 
My daughter, liminal
at four months,
waiting for test results,
until the geneticist found
her mosaic.
 
These children are beloved.
My daughter gently kisses
my son’s forehead at bedtime,
pushing bangs off his smooth, dry forehead.
 
When she cries,
he holds her on his lap,
encircling her body with his arms.
 
Escaping the dinner table,
they grasp hands. A shriek,
joyful and rebellious.
 
My son travels by handstands and cartwheels.
He scampers up furniture like a cat,
or is it Spiderman?
He leans on my back
as I hook up his sister’s feeds,
tubing hanging from her pajama shirt.
 
She is bright and solid in my arms.
My son balances
on the edge of her crib, beaming
as his arms reach toward the ceiling.

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