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  • Jared Beloff

Self-Portrait with my Daughter as Ema Shabbat

Updated: Jul 3, 2023

By Jared Beloff

Yesterday, a boy chanted “Death to Jews” in class

and I felt the floor open up as a ravine from a treeless village

in another continent.

In daycare, my daughter covers her eyes,

sings to the Queen of the Sabbath:

the sun over the treetops

no longer is seen.

My knees clenched at its muddy lip,

a shoe sprayed dirt down into the open wound.

I won’t look at the boy’s face.

Birds shape letters in the sky

fly as a seam joining the horizon. Flames

reach up for a remembered prayer—

Draw nigh, with angels.

We are all bodies

shadowed by the sun.

The children break bread, drink grape juice

with a straw. My daughter smiles.

The sun over the treetops no longer is seen.

Go forth in peace. Until the coming of the Sabbath.


Jared Beloff is a teacher and poet who lives in Queens, NY with his wife and two daughters. His debut poetry collection, Who Will Cradle Your Head, is out now with ELJ Press. He is the editor of the Marvel-inspired poetry anthology, Marvelous Verses. You can find his work in Contrary Magazine, Barren Magazine, Night Heron Barks, The Shore and elsewhere. He is online at and on Twitter @Read_Instead.

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