A Literary Magazine in Support of the Jewish Community

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The Big Ten by Nina Padolf

The Big Ten

In my home, after my dad moved out, Moses was the only male figure left.


Moses stood on a large podium with his arms raised

towards the heavens, holding a carved stone

written in Hebrew, which I called, the big 10.


Now, for those of you who are old enough to remember Bo Derek running on the beach in her

skimpy bikini and braided hair, I am not referring to her movie, which was also called, 10.


Instead, I am noting the commandments, like thou shall not…

like a check list for every Jew.


Don’t ask me to quote each one, I never completed Hebrew School.


Moses stood over five feet tall, was made of knobby brass, a skeletal body for his clothes, he

wore a teak wood dress. He was shoeless, and his mouth had a slight opening between his lips.


I seem to recall someone placed a joint in his mouth once—

clearly a betrayal.


I felt sorry for him. He had to stand there by the drafty doorway, rain or shine,

listen to my mother and her National Organization for Women swear profusely over tea about

the sins of what men have done to them.


But he was loyal to his maker, and never said a word about what he witnessed over the years.


I respected him for that.


One day, to my astonishment, my beloved Moses was gone.

Only an indentation in the gold carpet, where he stood for years, remained,

far too tragic for a young girl to understand.


When I learned that Mother had to sell him to pay the bills,

I felt betrayed. Her collection of shoes, and other prized possessions

would never replace Moses.


I didn’t see him again until the High Holidays rolled around.


We headed as usual to Shelly’s house up the street.

To my surprise, Moses stood right by the door, looking as he always did.


It took me years to ask about him when my childhood friend, one of Shelly’s daughter’s, came to

visit me from out of town.


This is when I discovered that he was donated to an organization that did not care for him

properly. They broke his big 10,

it shattered on the floor.


Shelly had to save him before more crimes occurred.


Two days after my inquiry, my childhood friend sent two photos of Moses.

There he was by the window standing tall and shining under the sun.

He looked the same, minus his big ten,

which was sent as a separate photo,

since Shelly paid to have another big ten made in his honor.

Nina Padolf

Nina Padolf’s first chapbook, Uprooted (Kelsay Books, July 2021), explores real life traumatic events and how to recover. She co-edited: Nasty Women and Bad Hombres Poetry Anthology, (Lascaux Editions, 2017); Is It Hot in Here or Is It Just Me?: Women Over Forty Write on Aging, (Social Justice Anthologies, Amazon, 2019). Her poetry has been featured in many journals and anthologies. She has been instructing college level writing courses for over fifteen years and resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


Nina Padolf