Zahava Bauer

Waiting for Elijah

We sit round
The table
Glowing, overflowing
With linens starched
Just for this

But one guest,
He’s missing
The empty plate
Adjacent, a cup
Filled to the brim

Every so often
I glance, just to see
If a drop has
Gone missing
But that wine
Still is sitting
With no one
To drink it
You see?

Halfway through
the night
worried for his
I open the door
Late at night
Just to see.
But it still stands
I know
He is hoping
To come

It seems strange
Doesn’t it?

That a night
So traditional
Each detail
A planned ritual
A precision
Would be
with gaps?

Like my sandwich,
The greens
Neatly plated
Yet vacant
It’s meat
The main
From its place

And the split
In the matzah
Is gaping
Heart aching
For the crack
A poor man’s
In between

A night
A people
A freedom
Fragmented at best

Can freedom be whole
When there are
So many holes
On a night
That is holy
And true?

But I recite
And remember
This space
A split
That we entered
A people’s
faith as
As the sea

Can we reenter
This gap?
Be embraced
by the waters
Door open
To Elijah
Once more?

About the Author
Zahava Bauer grew up in Teaneck, NJ and now lives in Bala Cynwyd, PA with her husband and three children. She is a middle school Language Arts teacher in Caskey Torah Academy who loves to write poetry in her spare time. She also enjoys snow days, hiking, and a day at the beach. Her Bachelor’s degrees are from Stern in Jewish Education and English Literature, and her Master’s degrees are from Azrieli and GPATS. She hopes for nothing more than peace in the Middle East and achdut among Am Yisrael!