She sits on the couch, feet tucked under
a cushion, though mommy said not to,
and curls a strand of hair around her finger
in rhythm to the syllables pronounced
with care; she leans over the book balanced
on the arm rest - five is too young for glasses
except such eyes blind the betrayals of age.
How can I hear what angels cannot see?
She smiles me over, finger to her lip:
“Mommy’s crying because she loves my book.
she says I read for all the children here
and doesn’t mind about the cushion now.
I chose the book myself because I saw
another butterfly and thought it’s time
to kiss the world hello. Jews have gardens
now and pillows for our feet” - she wiggles
her toes - “and bread and boats and songs” - she stops,
wrinkle browed she puts a finger on a line
‘daddy, you promised to bring me books’
then at me wiggles the finger, “like you.”
She closes covers, eyes, and sighs, then stands.
“I like the pictures but don’t know the words
it’s hard to read but I promised I would,
if I could bring it home I would not cry
and I have done all I said, and been good,
now mommy’s making challah with her tears
so I will help it rise above her fears.”
Pausing, “I wonder what it’s like in there,”
she points, “where every soul becomes a prayer.”