Reading time: Approximately 3 minutes
When I first read Spruijt-Metz's work, "Women At Shiva" I was immediately drawn to the marriage of content with form as the work is allowed to travel on the page. For me, this poet's work is gentle with the reader, and the delicate touch allowed me to see the natural connections through generations, through life and death and change, between what is visible and what is not.
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Mare Heron Hake
WOMEN AT SHIVA
by Donna Spruijt-Metz
When a mother dies
she leaves her residue—a snail’s trail
across the days of her daughters—
the trails form
we remember the mothers
just as we forget the trails—ignore them—
we get on with it—
until the next mother dies—and then
we, the daughters of the dead,
are called back
into the muck of it
the suck of
loss—the vertigo shift
in generations—the startle
just one more call
until it is our turn
***reprinted with permission of the poet
Donna Spruijt-Metz had this to say about her work:
Shiva is a Hebrew word meaning "seven" and refers to a seven-day period of mourning we observe after a death of a loved one. During the pandemic, we have been sitting shiva together over Zoom. This poem was born on a Thursday evening when I was studying Psalms with five women, during the period of shiva for one of our mothers. Her mother’s death raked up all of our memories—many of the group had recently lost our mothers, or it was near the anniversaries of one of our mother’s death, and all of us have daughters.
Donna Spruijt-Metz (she/her) is a psychology professor, was a professional flutist, was a rabbinical school candidate, but is mostly a poet. She has authored two chapbooks—Slippery Surfaces (Finishing Line Press) and And Haunt the World (with Flower Conroy, Ghost City Press). Website: donnasmetz.com
Photo credit: Rachael Warecki