Poetica Magazine

Poetica Magazine


What I Like about Judaism 
by Naomi Dean


Phosphorus curling the air, the way

paraffin or beeswax lights up and

holds off the dark. Because we never

blow them out, and they glow every

Friday, even as Midsummer stretches

the light past what you remember.


Salt dripping from parsley, beet

juice seeping from horeseradish,

iridescent as the April snow.

It’s light as freedom when we

begin, piling up heavy by the

end, like those still waiting.


Baruch atah Adonai takes you away

from the dishes, and lesson plans,

and scolding. This is how you notice

the candles, the wine and the challah,

and that you’ve made it to a new season,

in a language you know only for this.


A plain pine box, for the end,

the pebbles we leave for the ones

we still want. We’d bring them up

if we could, so we could memorize

the curve of their wrist as they dip

parsley in tears, the flutter of the

match as they strike the box, the

waft and the glow that they make.