Mother died the day I was born.

Father was nowhere to be seen.

Crying words and healing music

Gave my grief a space to breathe.

My melancholy room

became a dancing party—

no one could sit still.

I learned to tap dance

and do a soft shoe

like the black-skinned Jew

who couldn’t stop moving.

My head shuukkled back and forth

Like an orthodox Ashkenazi,

Davening to beat the band

to get to the Promised Land.

Black and Jews—blood brothers.

The sounds, like a loving Mother

rocked me to sleep every night.