One skirt didn’t skim the knee and a dress, although
and solemn had a bodice that went too low. A favorite
was too cheerful but finally a black top went into a skirt
that was straight to the ankles and a jacket covered it
since it had no sleeves. For your head my
shouted and grabbed a linen napkin out of the basket that
held dinner buns the night before. Shaking crumbs away
she folded the black square into my purse. You can’t
be without it
they’ll run you out. My daughter shook her head.
They’ll know I’m a fake moaned my husband.
Don’t have one of those undershirts with fringes dangling.
We stared as my skirt, long to the ankle suddenly parted
to show a leg tanned with the valley sun, how summer
touches the body in our part of the world.
My God was the chorus from husband and daughter as I
pulled my legs and skirt together. They’ll know we’re
my husband repeated and turned the car
in the direction of Jerusalem.
With a dark circle on his head he smiled at the Father of
the Bar Mitzvah whose fringes responded to the Jerusalem evening
and I bent toward the boy’s mother colliding with her
wide hard hat. My husband did not join the dancing men
who flung themselves in a room with bearded musicians yelping
Shoilem, Toirah and Rebbe oi Rebbe into a frenzied
The women celebrated their joy between tables near the
while the men raised the Bar Mitzvah boy high on a plastic chair
and praised the Lord they feared. The child’s tie and
ear locks shook
and my husband, a dentist, who wouldn’t join the men said kindly
the child needs an orthodontist. A woman in a dress
of my husband’s army uniform pulled me to her
tried to grab my right hand and twist me into rhythms left
then right, then two in and back, not the hora I knew so well
but I never let go of my skirt, never let them know
I’d brought shades of summer from the valley
far from the hills of Jerusalem.