A Single Woman of Valor
A woman of valor, who can find?
Far beyond pearls is my value.
After years of self-doubt, and therapy,
my heart at last trusts in me.
I know I lack no fortune.
I repay my good, and, sometimes,
because like one of my beloved grandmothers
I find it difficult to relinquish grudges, my harm.
I seek out wool and linen
(preferably cashmere, and wrinkle-free),
I am like a merchant’s ships;
from afar, I bring my sustenance.
I rise while it is still nighttime, and
brew coffee for my household.
I consider and I buy.
I work out.
I sense that my enterprise is good
so I sleep well at night.
I spread out my palm to the poor
and extend my hands to the destitute—
not literally, in most cases,
but more typically via tax-deductible contributions
and GoFundMe campaigns.
I fear not snow for my household,
for I live in a large apartment building
and the city plows clear the streets.
Bedspreads I buy on sale;
Lands’ End and TravelSmith are my clothing.
I hope that as I age, smilingly I will await
my last day.
I open my mouth with Wisdom, or so I believe,
and I try, mightily, to remember
my mother’s teaching of kindness,
and to keep it on my tongue,
and in my emails.
I anticipate the needs of my household, so that
there is always food, and bottled water, and toilet paper.
I do like the bread of idleness, though—
if by that you mean “naps.”
I have no children to rise and celebrate me
and no husband to commend me.
Yet I imagine Solomon himself in agreement that
my deeds may still praise at those gates.
Erika Dreifus’s latest book, Birthright: Poems, was published by Kelsay Books in November 2019. Her short-story collection Quiet Americans was named an American Library Association/Sophie Brody Medal Honor Title for outstanding achievement in Jewish literature. An Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Baruch College of The City University of New York, Erika is deeply engaged with and conversant in contemporary literature, publishing, and Jewish writing. She is also the editor and publisher of The Practicing Writer, a free (and popular) e‑newsletter that features opportunities and resources for fictionists, poets, and writers of creative nonfiction.