June 07


Charles Rammelkamp

"Matchmaker, hell," Leah spat,
"more like a pimp."

She'd just heard the rabbi's eulogy
for her sister Essie's dead husband Marvin.
The rabbi portrayed their courtship
as an episode from a Singer story:
Essie's friend Shoshona introduced the two, "and Essie and Shoshona are
still friends forty years later," the rabbi concluded.

But Leah wanted none of it.
Even if Essie's and Marvin's marriage did last forty years and produce
three children, it was no more from a storybook than Leah's own bitter

"Shoshona didn't want Marvin,
so she pawned him off on Essie
to get him off her back,"
Leah muttered.
Her resentments bubbled over shrill as a teakettle.
Grief takes odd forms,
catharsis coming unexpectedly.

"I knew what he wanted from my sister,
and so did Shoshona.
He used Shoshona the same way -
two years without proposing.
And he was getting it three years from Essie, before I finally forced
Papa to demand what his intentions were,"
Leah sneered, satisfied now
she'd made her point.
"Enough with the free milk;
he'd better be buying the cow,
if he knew what was good for him."


Images: Deby and The Bride by Dalit Gurevich.


Charles Rammelkamp's short story collection A Better Tomorrow (Publish America) and novel The Secretkeepers (Red Hen Press) both deal with converts to Judaism.