Tag Archives: raising children

Questions for My Mother

by Janet R. Kirchheimer (New York, NY)

What if
that afternoon instead of making love
in the sewing room you’d
cooked in the kitchen
perfecting what would become
your family’s famous zucchini bread recipe or
what if
you and Daddy had just talked?

What if
you decided that afternoon
to read a book instead,
and what was it
made you decide to make love
the second day of Rosh HaShanah
and that makes us toast my conception each year

with champagne? Would I
have turned out differently or would I
have received someone else’s fate if I
had been conceived at another moment?

Would the angel in charge of conception still have
placed the same drop of semen before the Holy One
and asked, Master of the universe what
is to happen to this drop?

Janet R. Kirchheimer is the author of How to Spot One of Us, poems about her family and the Holocaust.  Her recent work has appeared in The Poet’s Quest for God and is forthcoming in Forgotten Women.  Janet is currently producing AFTER, a cinematic film about Holocaust poetry.  https://www.facebook.com/AfterAPoetryFilm/

This poem is reprinted from Kalliope, where it first appeared, with the kind permission of the author.

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Filed under American Jewry, Family history, Jewish, Jewish identity, Jewish writing, Judaism, poetry

Why Fathers Are Unreasonable

by David E. Marshall (Modi’in, Israel)

To you now swimming
in the sea of your mother’s womb
Where do I begin in telling you
about life, this earth, that moon?
Shall I crush your innocence with Genesis
in one bedtime bible story blow?
What about tennis, Beethoven and photosynthesis?
These are all important things to know.
Isaac trusted Abraham and so you will with me,
Exact a trust so strong that it cannot be unbound.
Together we shall climb life’s tree
And scrape our knees on knowledge yet unfound.
And when your dreams are grown and you leave home’s gate
Tell me that you’ll know no father’s love was ever so great
as mine.

David E. Marshall has made his home in Modi’in, Israel for the past 20 years. Originally from Sharon, Massachusetts, he is a first generation American, the son of a refugee from Nazi Germany on his mother’s side and of a student refugee from Iraq on his father’s side. He holds a BA in Comparative Literature from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and an M.B.A. from Northeastern University.

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Filed under Family history, Jewish identity, poetry