Friday Poem

At the Wailing Wall
Jaqueline Osherow

I figure I have to come here with my kids,
though I’m always ill at ease in holy places—
the wars, for one thing—and it’s the substanceless
that sets me going: the holy words.
Though I do write a note – my girls’ sound future
(there’s an evil eye out there; you never know)
and then pick up a broken-backed siddur,
the first of many motions to go through.
Let’s get them over with. I hate this women’s section
almost as much as that one full of men
wrapped in tallises, eyes closed, showing off.
But here I am, reciting the amida anyway.
Surprising things can happen when you start to pray;
we’ll see if any angels call my bluff.