Status: Divorced

I wrote a poem inspired by a discussion of the “status” of being divorced. In Hebrew a divorced person is never called single. The word רווק/ רווקה is reserved for those who were never married. A divorced person has גרוש or גרושה on their national id card and is expected to answer “divorced” to the social question of their dating status.


Somehow the amount of time it took
for a man
to place
a single
piece of paper in my hands
becomes a word that defines me
my status:


a word that to many
means failure
a broken home
a tragic end to
something beautiful


to me, it means so much
and also so little
it is a badge
of my courage
my strength
to begin to build
out of the broken pieces
the beginning
of something beautiful


the moment
I was able to emerge
from the shadow
of who i could have been
the identifier of
one of the points on this long journey
to heal myself
to know myself
to love myself


sometimes it is a feeling of regret
regretting what came before
regretting losing myself
submitting my body
and my mind
to all the trauma
regret that the triggers remain there
my constant companions
as I make my way on this journey
sights, smells, sounds, words and phrases, situations and feelings
were I to attempt to compose
a list
of all of them
I would not get through writing it
before I found myself
shaking, and rocking
screaming, out loud
or only in my head
streams of tears falling from my eyes
my body curled tightly into itself
in the safest corner of the room
as my brain fights
what lies deeply ingrained
reacting to a danger
that is not present


I would be frozen there
terrified angry ashamed alone
the words and phrases
the false testimony
about who I am
what i am capable of
what i am about, the core of what makes me me
would flood my brain
as I tried to breathe deeply
to recall, and believe
the truth
to see that the journey yet continues
I cannot concede defeat to
the danger that is not present
and so
I do not write that list

As these companions come forward to confront me
one, two, and more at a time
I call on
the strength
and the courage
each day
to walk, ever vigilant
knowing that there will be roadblocks and ambushes
remnants, of what I thought
I had left behind


I am so much more
than this one word label
and I am determined
to grow a list of my accomplishments
longer than that of my triggers
who I could have been
transcending the regret
through the journey
emerges a deeper compassion
a greater ability to love
an appreciation for each moment
because it is also the word that means freedom

*a single piece of paper written by a scribe, commissioned by the husband and placed into the hands of the wife is the thing that makes a couple divorced in Jewish law

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