Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A Mourner's Kaddish: a response to desecration

Your fingers are warm
under the coldness of this stone

that once marked the final place
of someone's loved one,

that stood guard over time-
worn mounds and still-life flowers,

but now guard nothing,
criss-crossed granite toppled by hate.

But your fingers are warm
and I see your breath hang for a moment

in this almost-warm winter air,
and my breath puffs out to meet it.

This stone of soft edges and blurred
letters hides your face, but our breath meets.

I don't know if you wear a kippah
or a hijab, or nothing at all but hair; I can only

feel your fingers, warm, and see
your breath hang in frozen wonder, and mingle

with my own, as we lift, together
these stones to mark again the lives of my people.

Yitgadal v'yitkadash, shmei rabbah.
Exalted and hallowed be God's great name.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Perhaps I am Free: for Shirat HaYam

I have never seen such forever water.
I hear its incessant burbling,
a chant, perhaps to God,
Who has come to us as Fire,
Who has come to us as Smoke.
Who has come to us
at last,
bringing wonder and magic
and freedom,

I hear chatter of freedom,
but my back is striped still
and there is this forever Sea,
murmuring its prayers to
the ragged shore.

Perhaps there will be

I wish they'd get this
over with, this mad dash
to this forever Sea
that never stops chattering.
The fire of God rages,
and His smoke smells of
charred wood and honey.
I can taste wind there.
I wonder what freedom
tastes of, and I think
the of the sting
of brine on my

Still, I like this sea
this forever Sea,
that has captured the sky
in its mirrored waves.
They tell us
the only way to freedom
is through its
crashing, crushing

But I have learned
to sing its song, to walk
between its silvered edges.
I stand at the rim of earth
and air and fire
and water.
It parts for me,
this forever Sea.
a slow and liquid splitting.
and the sea,
forever and endless
and never quiet
is hushed,
waiting, perhaps
for me to begin.
And so I offer a hymn
with timbrel and lyre
and ribbons of fire
and smoke,
and I dance.

And perhaps -
perhaps I am free.