I am the daughter of Miriam is the sister of Moses and Aaron. As Moses' and Aaron's sister she, according to midrash, prophesies Moses' role and helps secure it by watching over the young baby, seeing to it that Pharaoh's daughter takes him and that the baby is returned to his mother for nursing. During the Israelites' trek through the desert, a magical well given on her behalf travels with the Israelites, providing water, healing, and sustenance.
she taught me how to dance
over my freedom
without stepping on the bodies
of my would-be captors.
She taught me to walk headlong
into impossible waters,
to lead the crowd through the narrow place
with utter faith that it will hold
long enough for us to get free.
She taught me how to tie my sandals
for a long, unknown journey.
And most of all, she taught me
—by doing, more than telling—
how to quietly pack tambourines
in the terrifying dark of night
when we barely have space to carry
sufficient food, water, and blankets
to last us through the miles ahead.
She taught me that it’s not enough
to scrape by and survive—
we must also be willing and prepared
to dance with joy when liberation arrives.
We must believe so deeply in our souls
in the arrival of that time
that we place those timbrels in our packs
and pray to the Holy One to send us food.
This poem was first published at the website of the Unitarian Universalist Association and is republished with permission.