Tuesday, February 17, 2009

780. To my baby cousin on the occasion of his bris

Welcome, Yosef Yitzchak

Heavy air
phones unanswered
one last click of a lock in a door.
But on this side, the smell of cupcakes with sprinkles
as a little girl in a princess costume
twirls in front of a superhero's cape
blue and white, draped over her father's shoulders
curling like a waterfall into a pool
when he sits on the sofa
and tries not to faint
as my new cousin floats on a pillow in his lap
and then screams louder than all the Jewish people.
A drop of sweet wine on the lips,
a small sigh, a nap
the air is light
and I open the door once again.

It is quite amazing that this bris coincided with the last day of shloshim for my brother, the traditional 30 days of mourning. I had erroneously calculated that shloshim ended on Tuesday, but received a call from a member of the Hevra Kadisha of my synagogue on Monday night asking how I was doing, and if they could be of any help now that this time had passed. How incredible to belong to a community that keeps track of such things better than I do.


George said...

Firstly, let me apologise for not offering my condolences on your loss earlier. The concern of two sons in Gaza (and my daughter volunteering in Ashkelon) followed by a huge deadline at work contrived to keep me away from my computer.
Secondly, mazal tov on the new arrival. I presume from his name that his family are Habadnikim?

alto artist said...


Thank you so much, and I cannot even begin to imagine how you can think about anything at all with your sons and daughter at the front lines. Wishing them all a safe return home. And, yes, you got it!--not surprisingly, their first son is Menachem. (Both named after the Rabbis Schneerson.) My family may be small, but we certainly represent the whole span of streams of Judaism. My cousins' quite non-Habad parents were a bit... surprised... by these choices, especially after learning they were inspired by regular visits to the Rebbe's grave. But we are all thrilled nevertheless.