Esther before Aha­suerus, Anony­mous, French, 18th cen­tu­ry, The Elisha Whit­telsey Col­lec­tion, The Elisha Whit­telsey Fund, 1949.

In Esther’s scroll God is hidden

but there are plen­ty of angels.

My favorites are the gardeners

dev­il­ish­ly uproot­ing trees in the king’s garden.

Haman’s orders,” they say.

Infu­ri­at­ed, the king bursts in to the ban­quet hall

finds Haman sprawled on Esther’s couch –

an angel pushed him.

The bad guys have lost control,

like Pharaoh’s stone heart,

every­thing con­spires against them

Haman’s gal­lows rise to doom him.

Tim­ing is everything

like poet­ry, like breathing.

Esther knows

when to con­ceal, when to reveal.

Her pro­ces­sion into the throne room,

green with grief, with ter­ror, infu­ri­ates the king.

He means to turn away,

but an angel swivels his head towards her,

anoth­er stretch­es the gold­en scepter

as far as Pharaoh’s daughter’s hand

extends to res­cue Moses.

I once heard

that in heav­en our life replays in slow motion

action by action, scene by scene,

only now we see behind the screen

how bad things happen

to issue in the good.

It all lies spread before us,

a resplen­dent banquet.

This piece is a part of the Berru Poet­ry Series, which sup­ports Jew­ish poet­ry and poets on PB Dai­ly. JBC also awards the Berru Poet­ry Award in mem­o­ry of Ruth and Bernie Wein­flash as a part of the Nation­al Jew­ish Book Awards. Click here to see the 2019 win­ner of the prize. If you’re inter­est­ed in par­tic­i­pat­ing in the series, please check out the guide­lines here.

Wendy Dick­stein was born in the US, grew up in Aus­tralia, and lived in Eng­land and India before set­tling in Jerusalem more than 30 years ago. She’s won prizes for poet­ry and fic­tion. Among her pub­li­ca­tions is a chap­book, Alexan­der Pope in India and Oth­er Poems” and the sto­ry of a spir­i­tu­al jour­ney from Hyder­abad to Jerusalem, Wan­der­ings: Hyder­abad Diary”.