For J, G and M
Sitting at intervals on the porch,
though still a circle, a family
passing challahBraided egg bread eaten on Shabbat and holidays. Reminiscent of bread eaten by Priests in the Temple, of manna in the desert, and sustenance in general. Plural: Hallot, 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 circuit of the table
is met with cheers.
Does she realize we’re smiling? I ask.
The muscles of our cheeks and lips
Yes! declares the oldest child.
She sees the lines
of kindness around our eyes.