more poems!

Before bedtime story time started,

Eva and Mollie the Children tried

to arrange their tummies

behind their elbows on the bottom

bunk, kicking, kissing, licking each other, squirming,

and blaming Sophie the Babysitter quite regularly, for everything, until

they found comfort.

 

Now, Sophie the Babysitter had a cough

and she didn’t want Eva and Mollie to know.

She didn’t want them to tell Imma and Tatti

the Mom and Dad. So she

coughed nonchalantly,

into her elbow, in between pages.

 

Joshua went to the dentist.

He opened his mouth, but kept his

sentences shut until

the end.

 

Cough,” went Sophie the Babysitter.

 

Sometimes, when something felt uncomfortable

for Eva and Mollie,

Mollie reached over to tell Sophie

exactly what she was doing wrong.

Wrong, to Mollie, meant different—

different from the way Imma

the Mom and Tatti

the Dad usually did it.

 

“Eva, could you put your keppy down while we’re reading?” asked Sophie the Babysitter. “I want to know you are relaxed, ready for bed, and listening.”

Eva wouldn’t put her keppy down.

“We don’t say keppy in this house,” said Mollie.

 

Now, Sophie the Babysitter said

keppy because that’s the way

her dad said it, before bed,

when she refused to rest

her head down on the pillow.

So, Sophie the Babysitter thought, okay

Eva and Mollie’s Dad is a Rabbi.

They probably know what

keppy means better than I do,

But, Mollie said, “we say head.”

And that was that.

From then on, for the rest

of the night, Sophie the Babysitter

said head too.

 

Once upon a time,

a button popped off the blouse of Pete the Cat

and Arthur the Aardvark played a computer

game his mom had told him not to play.

 

And Sophie the Babysitter

made up a story about a unicorn and

a cricket and two puppies, a princess

and some candy using the first names of her

two best friends, Emma and Mia, but with the last name Smith

(the least Jewish name there is).

Emma and Mia Smith the puppies.

 

After each happily-ever-after,

the Children would say

the story was too short or

the unicorns weren’t girly enough

or the girl with the red dress didn’t have

a problem to overcome.

 

“Every story has to have a problem,” said Mollie.

 

“Cough,” went Sophie the Babysitter.

 

After five storybooks and four

improvisations by Sophie, it was late.

All the buttons had popped

off Pete the Cat’s blouse.

Arthur the Aardvark’s mom

had been too busy

playing the banned

computer game to tuck

Arthur and his sister, D.W., into bed.

 

The red dress had soup spilled on it.

The fairy godmother had stopped making sense.

 

It was time to go to bed. So, the heads went down.

And the lights went off,

but Eva and Molly were still awake.

 

Neither Sophie the Babysitter’s

Dad nor Tatti the Dad

of Eva and Mollie was there

to say the Sh’ma the right way.

Sophie the Babysitter couldn’t,

for the life of her,

figure out how

to make someone with

a different childhood

listen.

 

And Sophie the Babysitter

didn’t know how Eva and Molly

the Children might respond

when she thought to ask,

“what do you pray for?”

the way her dad did

when she was a kid.

 

“Peace and health

and that I sleep good

and everything else good,” said Sophie the Child.

 

“Sleep well,” said Sophie’s Tatti the Dad.