A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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June 2009, vol 5 no 2

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Tad Wojnicki


Feast of Shacks

The sukkah at my Carmel-by-the-Sea shul is pretty flimsy – the frame barely holds the “roof” of fronds hung with pumpkins, cobs, and garlic. It imitates the shacks of the ancient Israelites, then desert rats. The wanderers have arrived, snug downtown now, but the sukkah keeps the memories afresh.

I sniff the etrog and shake the lulav in the make-believe shack, saying a brocha, or a blessing. Have I arrived? No. Not in my dreams. In my dreams, I'm still circling the Promised Land, afraid to enter, thinking everybody inside a giant, and thinking myself a grasshopper outside.

I wake up dreaming about shoes. It's a recurring nightmare. In shock I stare at a mountain of old, dusty, disfigured, worn-out, soiled shoes. I saw it in Auschwitz and I never forgot. I lay quiet, unable to fall back asleep, and I realize the shoes are my own. I’d worn a mountain of shoes schlepping around the desert, taking wrong turns, and living in a sukkah with a backyard view.

every sea onion
a question mark

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