Jessica Levine Kupferberg

Bang, Bang, Bang

Bang, bang, bang.

All around the town

We’re building clouds.


Ready or not,

Joy is coming

A guest we may not be in the mood for–

But she’s due for her visit,

And she demands an audience.


When we entertain, we entertain.

So we criss-cross the fraying paper chains and rows of blinking stars

With tears and fake fruit and memories.

We press clean white shirts and breezy flower-dresses

Haul branches and wood throughout our hills.

We will be ready.


We’ve done this before,

When we left our lazy Sundays

And safe, shiny stores, no metal detectors

And the happy theme parks and parents and the rest of all we knew.

We know how to step outside certainty and gently close the door behind us

Hoping our fingers don’t get caught.


All around the town

We will hold together tight

And we will shake–

Hearts, broken

Spines, upright

Eyes, glistening

Lips, praying

Citron scent clinging to our hands

And we will dine with joy under the heavens

And sleep, fitfully, on pillows of faith.


Along with the Fathers and Mothers buried nearby

A new ghost will come to pull up a chair,

A guest we never wanted

A neighbor, a teacher, a father, a builder

And under lion posters, ink not quite dry,

We will sit.


They say: Your whole town must be so sad.

But we know how to swallow sad

And stock up on candy to be grabbed by little hands

And leave our bone-colored houses with rooster red roofs

For the cumulus shelter

Of palm and stars.

Because the outside,

It’s home too.


We are not wallowers,

We are builders.

And so all around our town,

We build.


Bang, bang, bang.


Photo credit: Yonit Schiller Photography

About the Author
Jessica Levine Kupferberg is a writer and former litigation attorney. She made aliyah from La Jolla, California with her family during Operation Protective Edge in July 2014 after driving across America. She blogs for the Times of Israel and her work has appeared in the Jerusalem Post,, The Jewish Journal, The Forward, Jweekly, and as part of Project 929 English, and as part of anthologies about aliyah and Covid-19.
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