- Miriam to Zipporah
I didn't like you at first. Your darkness was different from mine. Your still center appalled me.
Glossy black pool,he could drop stones into and never ruffle your surface.You were polished obsidian,
the beautiful stranger who never talked or talked back.
Why didn't you stand up to him?You weren't his slave, his cushion, his piece of portable furniture. He had no right, no right [End Page 53]
to tear you away from your country, then tear himself out of your bed.
I seethed for you,sister-in-law, like a husband undergoing couvade. Rage cramped my belly, writhed underneath my skin, a bagful of snakes. You were voiceless. I screamed for us both.
His anger a factin all of our lives. Something we had to live with. My brother, your husband, the killer, the smasher of laws (the giver of laws God's agent God help us). But then, we're a furious people. What was it like for you, marrying into this family? (I pictured you back at your virginal well, an untasted young girl.)
But then you surprised us all.You simply left. Detached yourself from the man and his drama (the drama that gave us sustenance). He foamed like a burning mountain. But you were serene as marble no fire could touch. "They need me back home," you said. [End Page 54]
Then you gathered the forcesyou'd always owned, a dark-eyed boy holding each hand, helping you with the suitcases,
you walked out of our story.A breathtaking exit.
Cool ladysister to another family, mirror I never looked into, that's when I started to like you.
Enid Dame (1943-2003) was a poet and writer whose work often reflected her Jewish background and culture. Her last book of poems published in her lifetime, Stone Shekhina (East Hampton, NY: Three Mile Harbor, 2002), is a series of midrashic poems. Her other books of poetry include Anything You Don't See (Albuquerque, NM: West End, 1992), Lilith and Her Demons (Merrick, NY: Cross-Cultural Communications, 1989), and On the Road to Damascus, Maryland (Brooklyn, NY: Downtown Poets, 1980). Her poem "Chagall Exhibit 1996" won Many Mountains Moving literary award for 1997, and she had received two Puffin Foundation grants and a NY State CAPS fellowship for her work. With Lilly Rivlin and Henny Wenkart, she co-edited Which Lilith? Feminist Writers Re-create the World's First Woman (Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, 1998). She had been a co-editor of Bridges, and also of Home Planet News, the literary tabloid she and her husband, Donald Lev, founded in 1979. She taught composition, creative writing, and the Bible as Literature at New Jersey Institute of Technology and Rutgers University for many years. Where Is The Woman?, a small memorial volume of letters and poems written shortly before her death, was published in 2006 by Shivastan Publishing in Woodstock, NY, and a new collection of recent poems is expected soon from Three Mile Harbor.