Bio Note: I am a retired teacher of English, French, and Spanish, and a published poet. I enjoy my time writing poetry, short fiction and Nonfiction. My poems have been published in the Journal of India Literature (Sahitya Akademi), Harbinger Asylum, and several anthologies. I appreciate this group not just for the poetry they write and share, but the warmth of their interactions with all members.
Give Me Oil In My Lamp
Grandmother took me to the old synagogue Walking down the pot-holed sidewalks Of a noisy Bombay street, close to her home, Every square inch populated with humanity. The oil lamp in the very old synagogue hung high from the ceiling For a few rupees we could keep the light burning. She was afraid to climb the ladder provided by the caretaker In case she missed a step, I was afraid for her too. So he took the donation and lit the lamp. I must cover my head with a handkerchief she would pray to the prophet Elijah for the oil never to run out, The lamp must never die out. Wanting to know in whose name he could make the receipt (I did not have a Jewish name) ‘Change it for the receipt’, she said, matter of factly ‘Or the caretaker will get confused’. So I went from being called Kavita to Elizabeth For the sake of a two rupee receipt I really did not want, or need. Mother did want to name me Elizabeth, I recall. “It’s ok. When you get home You can go back to your real name Or your father will be upset”, grandmother said calmly.
©2021 Kavita Ezekiel Mendonca
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