Yom Kippur Before and After – Catherine Wald


As a child, I used to wrack my
brains for offenses to expiate—
thought mean thoughts?
talked back to my parents?
stuck chewing gum under
my desk at school?

I wanted to fast but they
said my stomach was too
young. Wanted to suffer,
unaware of how easy this
becomes later in life.

In order to get God’s attention,
let alone forgiveness, you have
to commit at least a few crimes.
You can’t get your name inscribed
in the Book of Life if you don’t
get written up first.


Course, now I have oodles of
mistakes, missteps, acts of greed,
intentional and unconscious
cruelties, sins of omission and
downright neglect to barter
with but I have no
One to call me to account.

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