We thank God—


for keep­ing us alive.


we’re taught to pray for all,

even in private 


sink­ing naked in the mikveh waters

or savor­ing the season’s first juicy

bite of per­sim­mon, kumquat, 

or prick­ly pear.


we say,

with rolled-up sleeves,

thank­ful for the painful

prick of needle.

Then we wait two weeks,

or three or four

to be sure, before

ven­tur­ing out

to hug our children

or share a meal

with friends.

We pow­der our noses,

paint our lips.

We share a bot­tle of wine,

but maybe not

a bowl of chips.

Who flew to Florida

to vis­it their mother?

Whose col­lege kids

are home on break?

We still cov­er our mouths

when we laugh.

Did you know

the rab­bis of the Talmud—

some­time between the flaming

destruc­tion of the Temple

and the arrival of the Black Plague—

planned a prayer

for reunit­ing with old friends?

After thir­ty days:


But after a year?

Baruch atah Adon­ai,

blessed are you, our God,

m’chayeih hameitim,

who revives the dead.

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 2020 win­ner of the prize. If you’re inter­est­ed in par­tic­i­pat­ing in the series, please check out the guide­lines here.

Eliz­a­beth Edel­glass is a fic­tion writer, book review­er, and for­mer Juda­ic librar­i­an who finds her­self writ­ing poet­ry in response to today’s world — per­son­al, nation­al, and glob­al. Her first pub­lished poems have appeared or are forth­com­ing in Com­pressed, Glob­al Poemic, Trou­vaille Review, and Sylvia. Her fic­tion has won the Reynolds Price Fic­tion Prize, The William Saroy­an Cen­ten­ni­al Prize, the Lilith short sto­ry con­test, and the Lawrence Foun­da­tion Prize from Michi­gan Quar­ter­ly Review.