Zayde
when I was a little girl
you bounced me on your knee
and called me shayna maidele”

Your pretty one. Oh, your black
beard scared me so!

And zayde
I always loved to look
through your dresser drawer
and find the cherry drops
you had hidden there

But no one told me one day you’d be gone.
And the candies, too.

You were so strong
proud of all your children
proud that you could feed them
for you used to say it wasn’t always so

Some of your friends never made it
‘cross the Sea.

And zayde
Mommy told me that some angeIs
came for you one night and I
tried to picture you fIying away

But I couldn’t. And you took so much
laughter with you.

Oh, you would have been proud
to see me graduate from cheder
and help Mommy fix the Shabbat suppers
and sing and dance on Hanukkah

Then I became a young woman.
I learned to question why.
I’m not sure you would have liked me then.

Dear zayde
I really tried to believe the rabbi’s answers
but I wanted to know if there was a heaven
and if angels really fly

The rabbi said we couldn’t be certain.
I didn’t believe him.

So I set to reading books
books about art and life
and traditions and children
and flowers and even about death

And oh, yes, I read about Messiah
but got scared and put the Book down.

Zayde
you never told me about him
—but the Book did
how he came to live and die
and take my questions with him

He showed me peace, the peace of God;
eternal, not fleeting.

I prayed to him one day
and took a step towards Life
not knowing
if angels really fly or bear us up
when we’re too tired to walk this way anymore

And I approached the Door they call Messiah,
whose way is always open.

My zayde
is this what you were looking for
when you came ‘cross the sea hoping
to find security and rest for your family?

For that is what I found through
the Messiah of the Jews.

I think you would be proud
if you could see me now
my head held tall
my heart full with God’s love.

Going to those who need to hear
that they might have hope.

Zayde
someday I will see him,
as he really is,
and for this hope

I am fixed forever
—an angel upon his shoulder