Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself

This is how you get set up on a date. This is how you get talked into giving the third date a chance. This is how a man opens up to you. This is how you start to have feelings for a man. This is how you second guess your decision the day before the wedding. 

This is how you invite your ancestors to the wedding. This is how you go to the cemetery. This is how you sit with your father. This is how you eat hard-boiled eggs, like he did with his father. This is how you bless everyone you meet. This is how you pray for other people. This is how you pray for everything you will need for the rest of your life.

This is how you go to the cemetery, sit with your father, eat hard-boiled eggs, like he did with his father, invite your ancestors to the wedding. 

This is how you bless everyone you meet. This is how you pray for other people. This is how you pray for everything you will need for the rest of your life.

This is how you cook a three course meal before sundown on Friday night. This is how you buy a fish. This how you buy a chicken. This is how you examine vegetables for insects. This is how you boil potatoes. This is how you braid challah dough. 

This is how you wash your hands before eating bread. This is how you wash your hands before prayer. This is how you wash your hands after using the bathroom. This is how you wash your hands after you touched your scalp. This is how you wash your hands after you touched your leather shoes. 

This is how you cut your nails so the spirit of death won’t mistake you for a corpse being groomed in holy preparation for burial. This is how you cut your nails so you don’t drop one of the parings, lest a pregnant woman step over it and miscarry. 

This is how you ask the person behind the counter at the drugstore for packages of little white cloths for your seven clean days after bleeding. This is how you wash your hair before you immerse in rainwater at the end of your seven clean days. This is how you keep from seeing animals on the walk home, lest your child be conceived that night and turn out wrong. 

This is how you pray before you lay down with your husband. This is how you keep your hair covered in bed, as it is an act that fulfills the commandment of god.  This is how you arrange two beds in one room without either of them pointing towards the door. 

This is how you give birth to a baby that has died. How you sleep during the day when you can’t sleep at night, listen to your heart beat. 

This is how you go to the seashore every year on the day you gave birth, say your daughter’s name, light a beeswax candle. How you make a circle of stones, and wear wolf fur for protection. 

This is how you leave your husband on the day of rest, ask a rabbi for a divorce contract, choose a new last name. 

This is how you come out, how you kiss a woman, touch a woman so she wants you to take her to bed. Write a poem afterwards. This is how you tell people why you’re here.