by Janet Eigner
When Isaac, a small, freckled boy
approaching seven, visits us for Family Camp,
playing pirate with his rubber sword,
sometimes he slumps in grief,
trudging along, his sacrifice and small violin
in hand, his palm over his chest,
saying, Mother is here
in my heart. Before he leaves for home,
we ask if he’d like a Jewish blessing.
Our grandson’s handsome face ignites;
he chirps a rousing, yes, for a long life.
We unfold the prayer shawl,
its Hebrew letters silvering the spring light,
hold the white tallis above his head,
recite the blessing in its ancient language
and then the English, adding, for a long life.
Isaac complains, the tallis didn’t
touch his head, so he didn’t feel the blessing.
We lower its silken ceiling
to graze his dark hair,
repeat the prayer.