Vayeira 5780

the essence of everything
the beginning of us all
          And yet
such a complicated thing
not a simple matter of choosing 
          where and when and how

A woman 
can pray for a baby that never comes
can lose many along the way
can die trying to bring about life
          A woman
cannot choose 
          to opt out
it seems;
is forced or berated or pressured 
          or judged
          for not bringing about life

One woman 
          evacuates her womb 
          while another holds an abdomen riddled with cancer
and grieves the mother she will never get to be
And another 
     is mother 
to a child from someone else’s body.

          Women used to 
bear babies onto one another’s knees
Was it a choice? 
A burden? A blessing? 
          A gift?

What kind of woman am I if my bleeding body infuriates me?
Monthly pains and the promise of menopause 
all inflicted on a part of my body I will never use 
          the way “God intended”

if only I could gift it to a woman who lacks what I have and actually desires it!

it seems we are meant to reconcile ourselves 
to what our bodies can do or not do
          regardless of what we want.

I am not Sarah, or Hagar.
I cannot relate to these stories of women who cannot have children and of women who can;
          of women who seem to exist without choices;
          Who bear or are barren
          Who laugh or grieve or silently birth their own children 
	            or someone else’s

I have choices. 
          I have exercised my choices. 
I cannot find myself in these texts.

The Torah does not answer the questions of a modern day working-woman.

I am the nameless woman at the side of the bed,
          the friend, the sister, the priestess - 
I hold hands and bring comfort and whisper blessings - 
all around a thing I will never experience 
          as the central character.

I am content with this

If only the rest of the world could get on-board.
If only I could find myself 
in a text where I am otherwise

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