Janet R. Kirchheimer You Think This May Be How It Happens

You’re sitting in an armchair,
it’s your favorite, though
beat up from years of use,
and there is a tear in the fabric
covering the seat cushion, and
it’s after noon, and you’re taking
your nap, and you

wake up and ask your daughter
if anyone is there, you feel as if
someone has been pulling
at your arm, and she tells you
no one is there, to go back to sleep,
and you begin to wonder
if someone was there,

perhaps the Angel of Death who comes
to distract you for the slightest moment
so he can take you, and if you concentrate
on something, studying, praying, or
performing a commandment, the Angel must pass you by
but he is cunning, and will do everything

in his power to distract you, and you are
tired these days and are having
trouble concentrating and remembering things,
and you know the Angel will not stop trying, and
your daughter tells you, again, to go back
to sleep, but you can’t, you keep wondering
if this may be how it will happen.

 

 

*First published in The Forward.

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Janet R. Kirchheimer is the author of How To Spot One Of Us (2007).  Her work has appeared in journals including Atlanta Review, Potomac Review, Limestone, Connecticut Review, Kalliope, Common Ground Review, and on beliefnet.com. Work is forthcoming in Villanelles (Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets). In 2011, Janet was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from the army for her work in the 2009 Multi-National Forces Days of Remembrance Holocaust Memorial Service held at Camp Victory in Baghdad, Iraq, and in 2010 received a Citation for her work from The Council of The City of New York.  A Pushcart Prize nominee, she is also the recipient of a Drisha Institute for Jewish Education Arts Fellowship.  She is a Teaching Fellow at Clal-The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership.

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