Tradition & Innovation

Pandemic Sabbath

two women wearing masks sitting in chairs on a lawn six feet apart, looking at each other and chatting

For J, G and M

Sitting at intervals on the porch,
we’re masked,
though still a circle, a family

passing challah, pre-sliced.
No tearing the bread,
no fingering shiny crust before sharing.

The youngest invents a game,
grasps the top page from a colorful stack
at her father’s knee.

Rounding the table,
she slaps it on her mother’s lap.

Selects a square of sky-blue,
a gift for me.

Chooses peach for one sister,
jade green for another,
orange for her grandfather.

Is she mapping Sabbath?
Weaving us in?

Each departure/arrival,
each circuit of the table
is met with cheers.

Does she realize we’re smiling? I ask.
The muscles of our cheeks and lips
are hidden.

Yes! declares the oldest child.
She sees the lines
of kindness around our eyes.

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