- Miriam Three
Monarch butterfly, migrant alone,knows it must paddle the wind above collectors of killed wings
to reach a promised bush beyondthe Rio Grande. I name the butterfly Miriam Two because there must be a chromosome bequeathing this dream. Other species
drift their daysnear the cocoon that cast them. They ask nothing of the wind. My grandmother watched fire explode her house in a shtetle
and like Miriam One followed smokewest to a dream. [End Page 49]
Someone else's grandmother followsthis Monarch butterfly. I name her Miriam Three as she and her children walk the stones of the Rio Grande, the sands of the Chihuahan Desert
while people who stuff butterflies into jarswait for them.
Helen Papell became a midrashist in 1947 when she taught in a one-room school in the Missouri Ozarks and the students asked "what is a Jew?" She is a retired librarian, storyteller and puppeteer who now catalogs books, as a volunteer, for a Jewish feminist library. She has published in a number of journals, most recently Heartlodge, Jewish Women's Literary Journal, Poetica, and Sambatyon, and is included in the anthologies Eternally Eve, Jewish-American Writers, Sarah's Daughters Sing and Which Lilith? She has published two collections, Caretaker's Mask and Talking with Eve Leah Hagar and Miriam, and is now engrossed in what will be a long-poem or a chapbook tentatively titled Laughing with Sarah.