- The Ritual Bath
"In my twenties, I began to observe Jewish laws, customs and holidays and have been on this journey of committed Judaism for about eight years. However, I struggle with mainstream Orthodox Judaism's inflexible interpretations of Jewish law and am angered that women are excluded from participation in most Orthodox communities. I participate in Jewish ritual when it is halachically permissible to do so; however, I believe that halacha needs to continue to evolve as a legal system."
It takes a tree a year to do what I do in a month; The moon unfolding its pearl—
At the edge of night I peel off layers of myself.
Maple leaves redden and drop, limbs shedding their temporary hands.
Full of rainwater, I go to the ritual bath, a room between I am alone and I am together with you.
May no part of me stay up when I go under— Water closes its ceiling above me. I am no longer a container for sadness.
Sarah Antine's poetry has appeared in Big City Lit, Lilith Magazine and upcoming in PMS. She lives in Maryland with her husband and infant daughter.