Mizmor L'David Anthology 

 

Poetica Magazine
                                           Contemporary Jewish Writing

Dale Tushman’s writing started with notes to Santa (and for a little Orthodox Jewish girl the secrecy was electrifying).  Her later work has been well received in both print and on-line journals. By day she is a psychotherapist. Like Carl Jung, she believes that each of us carries the collective inside and considers her writing an Acapella choir.

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5781 Mishkan
Dale Tushman


god/God remains a ? for me

which I have been directly addressing since age 5 or so
in response to the entreaties from my father the Orthodox Jew
who would tell me god/God was watching out for me
and I had to stop testing him,

god/God and my father,

this related to, among other things,
my night-time sojourns around the neighborhood
at age 5 or so once my parents were asleep,
followed by the routine visits from the Brookline police
who returned me to home base and
with whom I and my parents were on a first name basis.

god/God who? I wanted to know.
The One, my father would say (or shout), the ONE
who sees and hears everything,
the One who gives us life and knows when a life is ending,
the One who gives us choice to do good or evil.
I learned to stand still and face him, because
once he started talking
he would forget how mad he was at me,
and eventually give me a hug,
and then we would find something sweet to share.
From those experiences,
I learned that it helps others if I appear to listen
instead of questioning authority all the time
which my father assumed would earn me the title of
Jailhouse Lawyer, at some point.
Not yet. That’s what I could say to him 35 years later,
as he lay dying in a cancer unit.
Finding air somewhere in one of his rolling phlegmy coughs,
he says in a raspy whisper, “So, did they get you yet?”
And I say “Not yet.” I am crying quietly.
And he whispers, “There’s still time.”
And he laughs and coughs.
And I cry louder.
And cough.
And we are together, for the last time.
And it is Passover, and the desert walk goes on.