- Sarah and the Samovar
When I left the house that day Sarah was sitting in a box on the porch. I nearly passed by her without noticing, but I tripped and turned to catch my balance and there she was, like the genie in the brass lamp, like poppy seeds in hamantashen, like knaydls in chicken soup. Only this time it was a Russian samovar, enormous and shimmering in the heat of summer.
Sarah called out: You've got three wishes! No problem, I said. The first: that you would climb out of that samovar so we could have a real conversation. The second: that you would finish your memoir, The Junkdealer's Daughter! The third: that the Meshiach would give up this waiting game and make an appearance.
Don't be a mazik. Gather me up, Sarah said imperiously. Carry me into your house. I am sweltering, shvitzing in this boiling tub! I lifted the samovar out of its huge container, struggled under its immense weight, and gave Sarah and her samovar the place of honor in my living room.
As for my three wishes, Sarah never did climb out of the samovar. Even so, we talk. Sarah is making good progress on The Junkdealer's Daughter. But you, dear reader, will have to invent the ending. That is the eleventh commandment, according to Sarah. And about the Messiah, we think we saw her speeding away on horseback. [End Page 243]
Myra Sklarew is Professor Emerita in the Department of Literature at American University. She is the author of three chapbooks and six collections of poetry including Lithuania: New & Selected Poems; a collection of short fiction, Like a Field Riddled by Ants; and essays, Over the Rooftops of Time. Forthcoming works include Harmless (poetry) and Holocaust and the Construction of Memory. A former president of Yaddo Artist Community, she has won the National Book Council Award in Poetry and PEN Syndicated Fiction Award.