Poetry | Sara

First Edition features new original works by Northern California Jewish writers. Appearing the first issue of each month, it includes a poem and an excerpt from a novel or short story.

Toward the end, she took to dozing

in the Torah class, seated as always

at the rabbi’s right hand, hair swept

up in an elegant tumble of umber

and ash.

Still, the old ferocity

smoldered there, never more than

an eylash flicker away: What

is the essence of faith?  the strict

Brooklyn bark biting off the edges of

each question, the old Bolshevik fervor

burning behind coke-bottle glasses.

“What is the meaning of my long life?”

less a question than a challenge,

less a challenge than a prayer.

And, at the very end, in failing light,

when all the answers hovered just

above her bed, bright wings braced

for take-off, someone questioned if

it wasn’t time to send for the rabbi?

No, she whispered.  Not now.

I’ve no time for chit-chat now.


Jacqueline Kudler of  Sausalito teaches classes in memoir writing and literature at the College of Marin. Her poems have appeared in numerous reviews, magazines and anthologies. Her most recent poetry collection, Easing into Dark, was published in 2012. Kudler received the Marin Poetry Center’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010.