Evan is sitting shivaSeven-day mourning period following the funeral of a first-degree relative, during which time family members remain at home and receive visits of comfort. Other customs include abstinence from bathing and sex, covering mirrors, sitting lower than other visitors, and the lighting of a special memorial candle which burns for seven days..
Rachael tells me her body is in Kishinev.
Daniel is feeling alone in this storm.
Jodie is searching for words, she finds songs to briefly calm her soul.
Abbey’s great aunt, her cousins are held hostage.
We ordered our sackcloth on Amazon,
But they’ve run out.
From the River to the Sea, a cousin posts on Instagram.
A middle school friend
who once brought me to Easter services
with liturgy blaming Jews for Jesus’ death
messages me about collective punishment.
Neil from high school emails me after 20 years to tell me he is thinking of me.
Joe from our childhood West Sherwood Terrace texts me about his grief.
My beloved, born of the land,
first needs quiet, to process, to worry.
His cousins are called up.
They are my cousins, too, now.
We love you, I message them repeatedly,
as we cancel our El Al flights for November.
What about the kids in war, my nieces ask?
They hide, the eldest says.
They hide behind their mommies, the youngest agrees.
I call my dad crying.
I cry dancing the horah at Sasha’s wedding.
I cry for Abbey’s Carmela and Noya.
I cry because I do not understand war
and I do not understand hurting children.
I cannot sleep on this ark.
I should not sleep on this ark.
As if the last night of summer camp,
I am sitting shmira*
The WiFi is too strong and I am up late each night.
Refresh, refresh, refresh.
I am keeping watch to make sure everyone is safe.
I am sitting shmira –
Guarding the memories of the dead
until they are returned
to their families embrace.
You can’t sit shmira for all of them alone,
my sister tells me.
You have to share the burden.
So, please come on board this ark with me,
There is only one skylight
And it feels so dark.
*shmira is from Lishmor and can mean night watch/guard duty/safekeeping or the rituals of accompanying the dead before burial