Sabrina Orah Mark


A lot of my friends are following the Rabbi so I start following the Rabbi too. We follow him into a community swimming pool and splash around. Our suits match. Light blue with moons and stars. The Rabbi's twinkle so ours twinkle too. When the Rabbi floats we all float too.  A lot of my friends are following the Rabbi out of the swimming pool, so I follow the Rabbi too. We wrap ourselves in one large, green towel. The towel is tagged. We take turns touching the tag.  God, it is lovely. It is a lovely, lovely tag. That we should all one day be tagged by a tag as lovely as this tag. That we should one day run into one another on this or that sidewalk and know we once were friends. Good friends.  

At the community swimming pool there is a goat. There should not be a goat but one thing has led us to another. So now there is a goat. The Rabbi climbs inside. We follow him. It is warm. Too warm. Beautiful Leonora is here. She is following the Rabbi too. We nod to each other.  Inside the goat is a tree. The goat is tagged. The tree is tagged. The Rabbi sits under its shade. The shade is tagged. We sit next to the Rabbi. We breathe in the matted, gamey heat. We are sweating. We pick at the stars on our suits. We leave the moons alone. We pick at the Rabbi's stars. We leave the moons alone. He doesn't seem to notice or care or feel us picking at his suit. We are struggling to be recognized. We wish for a short lecture on God and happiness. We wish Beautiful Leonora would get out of here, for she is in our way. For she is tons more beautiful than the beauty all of our faces combined. Someone bursts out laughing and disappears. Still, without Beautiful Leonora, it is crowded enough.  

The Rabbi reaches up as if to wave at us, almost smiles, but then his hand drops and our hearts sink. The heat inside this goat is unbearable. The Rabbi climbs out so we climb out too.

On Wednesday my friends follow the Rabbi all the way to 125th street so I follow too.  It's a clear, sunny afternoon. Today my friends and I are a merry gang. The Rabbi walks slowly so we all walk slowly. When the Rabbi stops we all stop too. At around four o'clock we get so close to the Rabbi we almost catch a nectarine that falls out of his wool pocket, but Beautiful Leonora gets to it first. We wish Beautiful Leonora would get the hell out of our way. We wish this Rabbi bore gusto, but he bears none.

The Rabbi sighs. The Rabbi is morose. "A Mouse Rabbi?" we ask. "No," we say. "A morose Rabbi." We get a faraway look. "A Mouse Rabbi?" we ask. "Once," we say. "Long ago."

Nobody asks this Rabbi for comfort, only that he should guide us.  

We follow the Rabbi. His sighs get louder. We follow him into a brick building and up a carpeted stairway that eventually leads to Apartment B. The Rabbi knocks. We are piled up all over the hallway. We are sleeping. We are reading. We are becoming very famous, or getting married, or slowly dying. The Rabbi knocks again. Beautiful Leonora answers. How has she gotten here first? Who is following whom? We look behind us. Endless grass. A person could get lost in this grass.

A lot of my friends are following A Person Could Get Lost In This Grass so I start following A Person Could Get Lost In This Grass too.

There is so much grass here. In the distance, we see My Mother. We try to run towards her but the grass slows us down. For days, we follow A Person Could Get Lost In This Grass until we finally come to My Mother. She is bent over, like she is picking a flower. We tap her on the shoulder. When she turns around we see she is not My Mother, but Beautiful Leonora. Her mouth is stuffed with grass, and she is smiling, and she is more beautiful than ever.  

A lot of my friends are following Apartment B so I start following Apartment B where Beautiful Leonora and the morose Rabbi are now slow dancing. "What song is that?" we ask. We listen. We stare at Beautiful Leonora. She is grass-stained and far better than us. "It Had To Be You," we say. "Who?" we say. "Me?" "No," we say. "The name of the song," we say. "It Had to Be You." "You?" we ask. "Us?" we hope. "No," we say. "Her." We point at Beautiful Leonora. It had to be her, which doesn't seem fair. It really should be all of us.  

Though we refuse to follow Beautiful Leonora, we drag ourselves over to her, she who is light incarnate, and say, "Beautiful Leonora, it really should be all of us." We try to push her away. We try to slow dance with the Rabbi. A lot of my friends are following It Had to Be You so I start following It Had to Be You too. We are pushing and shoving and trying to get ourselves close to the Rabbi so he might hold us, and sway, and let his head fall gently on our shoulder. So he might close his eyes and whisper our name in our ear. But the Rabbi and Beautiful Leonora are oblivious to our desires. They just keep dancing. It's as if we're not even really here.  

I unfollow the Rabbi. I unfollow everything.

Two days later I long to follow something again. I look for the Rabbi, but he's gone. I don't see Beautiful Leonora either. If my friends still exist, their names have been changed.  I try to follow Where Am I and I'm Sorry and I Do Not Wish to Burst Into Smithereens but no one is accepting new followers. It is freezing cold. And all the lights in this city are out. I turn around. My Husband and My Babies are following me. They are shivering. They turn around. I follow them. I turn around. They follow me. They turn around. I follow them. We are like toy soldiers patrolling a castle.  It is so cold. We are turning blue. We are hungry. I put My Husband and My Babies on my back and carry them through the dark city. I search for the Rabbi everywhere. I search for Beautiful Leonora. I search for my friends. Like an animal, I howl for them. My Husband and My Babies are so heavy. Who will feed us? Who will keep us warm? How am I supposed to know where to go?