poem from Threshing Floor (Jacar Press)

Orpah Beckons

At a glance, we might be mistaken
for sisters—same dark hair,
dark eyes, perfect almond-shaped
faces. And more so, how we move–
a little like foxes stealing
from the henhouse.

Close in age too, it’s a wonder
we didn’t know each other as
children, played at house, dolls,
practiced our inevitable livelihoods.
I had only brothers, you only yourself.

Now we teach each other wifely arts:
to braid the bread into itself, like arms
folded, to mend clothing worn thin
from the friction between
the bodies we love and the world
they move among.

In our new family of foreigners,
we were the foreigners. We held out
our passports and let them examine
our teeth.

We stumble through their customs
together, and if we get something
wrong, we were wrong together.
Is not sisterhood born out of
shared error?

Our husbands passed death
between them like a soup–
true brothers. Can we pass life
between each other now, Ruth?

Take it to your lips, the good strong
drink—come even with me to my mother’s house,
where we can weave white flowers
into each other’s hair and torture
the hearts of young men,
tender as rabbits snared in wire.


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