Some People Are The Trees

It was a summer Shabbat – joyous, boisterous Friday night oneg

that makes its own music

lasting hours past midnight – and I remembered

I was due back at the Rebbetzin’s house.  Couldn’t call, so I ran the mile. 

Skirt swirling about my calves, the clack-clack of my ballet flats

against the pavement. Sweat trapped in my pantyhose

and ruined my blouse, so I unbuttoned it

and ran in my bra (no one was out at that hour)

the two halves of my top flapping like wings.

It felt amazing.  Maybe I don’t hate running, I thought. 

Maybe I just hate running clothes. The Rebbetzin welcomed me,

disheveled and exhilarated, back in the house.  It came with the territory,

hosting guests with terrible manners. Some people are the trees,

and some people are the birds who fly back, empty the fridge,

trash the nest when they feel like it. The Rebbetzin would die young –

Ovarian cancer.  Her family moved back to Brooklyn.  By the time I learned,

It was Friday night and there was nowhere to run to.

© 2020 Jewish Young Professional


Retroactively for dVerse


  1. I love this so much. It makes me think of the trees in the Garden of the Righteous and yad vashem. Next to my street is some sort of reforestation project called Demonstration Forest. I wish there had been real people here who would have given my kids and I a permanent place to land. At least we can know that we can be this for someone- shelter, hospitality, advocacy, respite. People who don’t freak out when your autistic child innocently starts stripping cause their drink spilled on them, lol. People who are chill and know how to provide shade.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. I love this; how could you ignore a poem with such a great title? I had to look up a few words but that’s okay; the authentic words must always be used; I’m copying this into my commonplace book: it’s a gem

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks! I love the title too!

      I’ve been cutting back on my explanations of Judaic references in poetry (because I used to overexplain until my poems became essays! Those poems were so dreadful!) and I’m happy to hear that it was still accessible.

      I’m touched to make your commonplace book!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. […] I posted last year about wanting to quit keeping Shabbat after keeping it for 10 years. My struggle with Shabbat falls into the Practical category. I had no issues with Shabbat from a Philosophical or Societal perspective. I believe in Shabbat as paying tribute to G-d creating the world in six days, something I could believe in and actually, I do not find it difficult to reconcile this belief with scientific evidence of evolution. And I found Shabbat to have a largely positive benefit from a societal perspective. I had many positive experiences celebrating Shabbat with the community. […]


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