The heartbreak of Itamar
Two 70 faces events in my own home county

Hidden - a poem for Purim

As my final project for the feminist exegesis class I took in my last year of rabbinic school, I wrote a series of poems exploring Biblical women. One of those poems has already been shared here -- Seven Miriam stories -- and I'm sharing another one now in honor of the festival of Purim which is almost upon us. This is written in the voice of Esther, the hero of the megillah of Esther which we read on Purim.



Vashti, the first favorite
was well before my time, though
I still wonder sometimes
why he asked her to strip.
Maybe he’d grown tired of her
and needed an excuse.

Of course I use my body
to get what I need: what woman
doesn’t? But until now
all I’ve needed were clothes,
bread, the freedom to read
in a quiet corner of the room.

The king thinks I hung the stars
but when the time comes
to make my play my hands shake.
And Haman leers. He’s thinking
casual threesome! score!
but I know karma's a bitch.

The story ends in celebration
and bloodshed, a revenge fantasy
your children will retell
for generations, but listen--
I’m not a paragon of virtue.
I’m not your blank canvas.

I was never hiding. I’m not
a Torah scroll to be concealed
behind ornate walls, then
revealed bit by bit (here a flash
of ankle, there a glimpse of hip)
for your viewing pleasure.

I’m not God, veiling My face
like the newest of moons.
I’m a dark-skinned Persian girl
raised on twisty Shushan streets
who gambled for a favor
and won.