Poetry: Purim

When few could distinguish
Mordecai from Haman
(and the two gentlemen, themselves,
were passed out, arm in arm,
under the King’s throne),
Esther tied King Ahashverosh
to the horse’s royal tail
and dragged him through Persian streets
to the graveyard. There she swapped him
for his dead Queen and these two
cantered back to the palace,
where Vashti danced a wild tarantella
and stripped off her funeral shroud.
While the noblemen gaped and gangled
at the reawakened beauty,
Esther raced through the feast,
nailing each tongue to the table,
still flapping.
And she flaunted her Jewishness,
despite her drunken cousin,
and canted bentchlicht
for all the Jewish mothers,
while balancing Haman’s hat
on the King’s gold sceptre.
Then, the two ladies painted
on the soles of their sandals
and hopscotched
til they had stamped out
the names of Ahashverosh, and Mordecai,
and all those
who would have women
bury their souls in flesh.

Susan Charles Groth lives in Lamhertville, NJ and runs poetry workshops in a home for the Jewish aged.