Sharing Shabbat With Neighbors

Shabbat candles and wine set on a white tablecloth
Golden mums bloom beneath my kitchen window,
while junk propagated on my neighbors’ porch.
Indignant, my eyes flitted from beauty to chaos.
I glared at the heap, its growth forming a
collage of unidentifiable objects. A neat person,
I never wished to meet the creators.
Today the stoop holds only discarded kitchen
cabinets; window ledges are emptied of clutter;
naked windows reflect my fall foliage.
I will miss my sloppy, un-named neighbors.
We were strangers, yet I value their gift to me.
While they observed Shabbat, I observed them.
I prayed when they lit candles at their dining
room table, chanting the blessings as my soup
was warming. Strangers, we shared rituals.
Each year I, the voyeur, was impressed by the
elderly man’s struggle to erect a sukkah, envying
his serenity as he read there by candlelight.
Perhaps cleanliness is not next to godliness.
The nearby porch clutter did not diminish their
prayers, inspiring my own return to Shabbat.
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