Green Hills Literary Lantern

A Rare Swoop



Purim—I was 7; it was before I knew

the Esther story—

in a rare swoop of enthusiasm

Mom dressed me as a

Persian slave girl

and entered me in the temple’s

costume contest.  I was thrilled

to win second prize.

I wore a dark purple

velvet jacket with gold threads—

Mom had bought it years before

in Palestine—before she was married

she’d spent 8 months there.

Growing up she’d been

ardently Jewish (except for Hanukkah

our family rarely did anything Jewish.)

What had toned her down?

Dad’s lack of interest in ritual?

Passing in prejudiced Milwaukee?

Her fill of her parents’

kosher life?


Late afternoon—just me and Mom—

my brother and sisters out on


Dad at work—

just us

folding up my costume

and eating hamantaschen

in the kitchen—the yeast kind

with poppy seeds—

I’d never seen those little hats before;


sitting close—

the kitchen’s soft yellow walls—

the coffee pot percolating.




Peggy Garrison taught creative writing workshops for over 20 years. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, among them Green Hills Literary Lantern, Slant, Home Planet News and Paterson Literary ReviewTies (P&Q Press) is her most recent book of poems.