by Janet R. Kirchheimer (New York, NY)
that afternoon instead of making love
in the sewing room you’d
cooked in the kitchen
perfecting what would become
your family’s famous zucchini bread recipe or
you and Daddy had just talked?
you decided that afternoon
to read a book instead,
and what was it
made you decide to make love
the second day of Rosh HaShanah
and that makes us toast my conception each year
with champagne? Would I
have turned out differently or would I
have received someone else’s fate if I
had been conceived at another moment?
Would the angel in charge of conception still have
placed the same drop of semen before the Holy One
and asked, Master of the universe what
is to happen to this drop?
Janet R. Kirchheimer is the author of How to Spot One of Us, poems about her family and the Holocaust. Her recent work has appeared in The Poet’s Quest for God and is forthcoming in Forgotten Women. Janet is currently producing AFTER, a cinematic film about Holocaust poetry. https://www.facebook.com/AfterAPoetryFilm/
This poem is reprinted from Kalliope, where it first appeared, with the kind permission of the author.