Prayer in a Bomb Shelter

Walking through Jerusalem I marveled
at the old built alongside the new
ancient history grafted against modern skin

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I found a letter. A rune. A symbol lying on the ground, metallic like a new penny and glistening like the tops of ocean waves at sunset. Heavier than it looked, it pulled down my hand like a child’s eager tug, curled around itself and shaped more precisely than human hands could craft. It reminded me of a script e, at once the most renowned of our alphabet and a number as natural as earth and air. I stared deeper, aroused by a memory of a story my rabbi shared, about the four-fingered shin inscribed on our tefillin, the prayer boxes we wear on our arms, on our brows: this is last letter of the Hebrew aleph bet, whose sound has never been heard, whose meaning is beyond imagination, and God won’t reveal it until we’re ready for a new day.

But the world isn’t ready. I’m not ready yet. I’d like to give it back.

Tefillin

But, Anna, love does hurt

Driving away from a wreck of a day
you tell me you’re falling to pieces
I turn from the mirror to glance far away
not to stare at my own broken pieces

An abhorrence, you called it, this thing I call love
but you gave it to me, my creator
I stare at the gates as they swing shut above
I’ll repent for this sooner or later

Excerpted from Shattered