Little Shoulders


**This poem was written about watching my son walk to shul soon after I was divorced.

You’re walking to shul

Little child of mine

Forlorn and defenseless,

Vulnerable, age nine.

Alone, without father,

You walk down the road

All I see are your shoulders

Little shoulders, big load.

Little shoulders that carry

Much burden, much weight

Little shoulders, big burdens

Will your loneliness abate?

I stand there, and watch you

Wondering, who will receive

My child at shul doorway

Will he have a reprieve?

Will there be a kind man

A sensitive soul

Who will look at your shoulders

Shoulders that reveal all?

A person with insight

With humanity, compassion

A Rachman ben Rachman

Helping others his passion.

Will you walk up to my child

His shoulders embrace

Will you open his siddur

Assist in finding the place?

Or will you be feeling

Uncomfortable, ill at ease

Will you elect to turn your shoulders away

From the sight of my child alone and astray?

I stood in my doorway

On that balmy Friday night

Watching little shoulders

Walk out of my sight.

My child has grown now,

His shoulders are broad

His shoulders are empty

No tefillin straps hold.

No tzitzis to warm them

Those shoulders I love

No tzitzis caress them

They’re out in the cold.

What happened in shul

To my child I don’t know,

But you, my dear bretheren

Have a chance now to grow.

Little shoulders are walking

They’re all over town.

Tiny little shoulders

And head hanging down.

They come into your shul

And they sit down alone.

Little shoulders that need you

Be staunch now, be strong.

Fellow Jews, dear kind brothers

Please heed heartfelt plea

And help little shoulders

Little shoulders in need.