“Waiting for the Shadows to Close” © Bill Wolak


No One Wants to Make a Movie About Tamar
For all those who suffered under the Levirate law

Her reputation was ruined.
A black widow indeed.
Could she help it if her first husband died.
What kind of name was Er anyhow?
Their sex life was purely underwhelming.
Surely nothing that produced an heir.

Then there was his brother. Onan, less than
stellar in a whole new way. Or a very old way.
He planted seed nowhere, or at least nowhere
that produced a child.
Onan was in it for the inheritance.
His death was next.

They stared at her. Why were the sons
of Judah dying? What spell did she cast?
Tamar, in a bind. Widowhood was no honor here.
No heirs? No support.

Judah’s last son was not even offered.
Was he afraid she would work him too hard?
Was her father-in-law content with
Go home to your father, widow?
He knew the law. She was disgraced.

Shua passed, Judah grieved. Tamar
still home, still bound to his family.
A plan arose. Mourning was over, Judah
traveled to a Sheepherder’s gathering,
ready to be rid of the clothes of mourning.

Who are you picturing in this role?
Linda Darnell? Lana Turner? Rita Hayworth?
How about Madonna? Bad girls of note.
Not even Bette Davis would take this one on.
Sleep with her father in law? Prove he was the father?
Keep the family line going and reclaim her honor?

The loquacious neighbors fill her in on the details,
There’s a sheep shearing in Timnah,
Judah’s looking for a wife
and a little relief from his grief,
from his strife.

That’s our Tamar. Wardrobe! A little scarlet,
sheer of course. And the veil?
Gotta look the part. Temple harlot.
She was a scamp, camp and a bit of a tramp
She was a v-a-m-p vamp. Oh hey, what about Cher?

She left the stilettos home. Oh wait, stilettos
would have to wait until the 17th century.
She draped herself at the crossroads,
a blind man could have found her,
that heady perfume; Soirée à Timnah
called him even before he saw her.

There’s a sheep shearing in Timnah,
I’m looking for a wife
And a little relief from my grief,
from my strife.


Linda Dickman loves seeing the poems in the eyes of children of all ages. Sometimes, she actually captures them on paper, sometimes they blow off like dandelion seeds, planted somewhere else. She has been published in far away places, won some local poetry awards, and the heart of the love of her life. Linda is a re-wired librarian after forty years of joyful teaching.

Bill Wolak has just published his eighteenth book of poetry entitled All the Wind’s Unfinished Kisses with Ekstasis Editions. His collages and photographs have appeared recently in the 2020 Seattle Erotic Art Festival, the 2020 Dirty Show in Detroit, the 2019 Rochester Erotic Arts Festival, the 2018 Montreal Erotic Art Festival, and Naked in New Hope 2018.