Scout & Birdie
Scout & Birdie

This is the silence of sanctuary
A space holding so many prayers
A put your nice black shoes on - silence - the ones with the silver buckles, that pinch your toes
This is the silence of ceremony
Your father wrapping his taliss around you, air conditioning humming above
Your mother mhming to the sermon

This silence is ancient but you learned it young
Sitting still, eyes tracing the circular edges of architecture
A feeling of awe, in the bigness of it
The grandness
Your sanctuary
Where you were given a name, where you became an a adult
And one day I’ll get married here, you would imagine
Eyes closed, whispering to G-d

Returning with your father, many years later
You pull into the large lot, and park in a row, empty save for your family's minivan
You walk into the large sanctuary and settle in an aisle, empty as well
Those same high ceilings and rounded edges
That same silence
Only now, the wood paneling, fake
The maroon chairs, faded
The air conditioning buzzing above, cold
Old ladies unwrapping lozenges, crackles and coughs echoing through the room
The Rabbi, who’s every word you once clung to,
Repeating a sermon you’ve heard before,
Something about golfing in Heaven
Matted carpeting and leather bound books in dark reds, greens and blues
Palestine and its People, Machzours, Shrubs of the Holy Land, alphabetized from A – Z
And who last opened them? Are they simply decoration? A donation from some long dead lady?

And as you sit there, you dream of vivid colors, blurring together
People dancing, singing, up out of their chairs
Walls reverberating with prayer
Space, filled with sound

But for now, you sit still, amidst the silence of stained glass
And the light--the light you’d been told would never go out
נֵר תָּמִיד
And, for the first time, the question,
Come tonight, who will switch it off?


About the artist...

Anna Rose Wolfe is a writer, performer, and teaching artist. She is the co-founder and Outreach Director of Scout & Birdie. She is an alumna of Columbia College Chicago where she earned a BA in Acting and a minor in Gender Studies, graduating magna cum laude. Anna is currently a resident playwright with the Greenhouse Theater Center’s Trellis Initiative where her solo play In Her Footsteps was presented, as a reading, in 2017. Her work has been featured in Fillet of Solo, Greenhouse Theatre’s Solo Celebration, Abbie Fest, Greenhouse Theater’s Solo Performance Lab, The Election Monologues, and SheFest.

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Check out her work from previous issues: