Tag: lisalahey


Mar 20  |  Lisa Lahey

It’s my first visit to a mikveh to help me conceive. It’s not my first mikveh, though. My periods began when I was an untouched virgin, so I undergo a niddah every month after I menstruate. It is a purification ritual that lasts seven days.

Eve was thrown out of the Garden of Eden for succumbing to temptation. Her sin brought all women menstruation and shame, so I must purify my body; my period brings death and impurity. It embraces the dirt of the earth, the filth that gathers beneath my fingernails and fills the dark, eternal grave, taking my body away from life instead of towards it.

A mikveh is the womb of the divine; it is a portal to purification. Please let this womb bless mine with fertility. I wish to be reborn in a blinding flash of light and whirling hysteria carved into the palm of His hand. I want to conceive a new life, as tiny as a dewdrop in a rain puddle.

I clasp the water of divinity in my hands. My fingertips melt into infinite light as it pours into the bath.

My husband and I have been fasting—anything to have a baby. We pray to Yahweh, but He is as silent as an evening breeze, wafting gently around a butter-colored daffodil in the abandoned garden.

My husband washes my feet. He lathers them with golden oil, thick as honey, shiny as newly minted coins. He rubs my belly, and we pray out loud, chanting in tempo—faster and faster. At night, I weep, quiet as a newborn lamb in the rolling hills of a green pasture, bleating for its mother. Time slips by like a lazy river, slow, silent, and silvery.

In the mikveh, I will my body to create a child inside my womb, to form oneness out of myself and separate matter, a seed germinating into my likeness. My womb will be her mikveh. I feel the stirrings of a tiny child inside me. My body offers her a haven of warmth and love. I will bring forth my child as Eve did, bleeding and in pain.

Someone splashes the water, and my child fades. I sit childless inside the mikveh bath. My tears and the water inside my womb become one with the mikveh. My womb remains empty, my prayers unheard.