Consider the Mother

Consider the Mother

Consider the mother of the pitiful Nadav and Avihu
Aaron’s sons who die too close to the Source
with their strange fire
they brought something unfamiliar –

In another generation they would be kings for it.

Their mother is not mentioned
Elisheva bat Aminadav —
everyone in her family has ascended
her brother-in-law Moses like a king
her brother Nachshon like a prince
her husband to high priest
her sons –

We have no sense that
loss of our loved ones is God’s gain
we have no sense that this is consolation
we are hollering for our beloveds
whenever they leave us —

Elisheva bat Aminadav is not happy

She chooses silence.

Get up I tell her.
Rend your clothes then howl out of your silence
throw up your disgust into the dust
let everyone know how you feel
some with words some without.

Let them know what you think of their successes
the positions they hold
their responsibilities.

Elisheva bat Aminadav
is howling for all the mothers
and the fathers who are mothers
who love no crown more than the crown
of motherhood.

Tell them you are not getting on with it
until the muscle of this sadness is gone from your hands
and the music gone from your mouth
all sound gone from your ears

Only when there is no memory of loss
Will your loss be quieted.

jsg, usa

Small alef; poetry Acharei Mot
Maqam Hijaz