Fast and Slow

The top of my head
feels hollow
fills with sounds and delusions
that echo
in time with my heartbeat
my pulse
the flow of electrons
through neurons
between where my finger
slides through graphite
on paper
to where my shoulder
hinges at my neck
and past my dry mouth
sagging cheeks
and languished eyes
so I stop thinking
drained by prayer and famine
to observe
the world as it wavers and twists
lilting sideways
as my steps lurch forward
the passages of overhead conversations
like “It’s crazy
in the hands and feet alone
are half the bones
in the body”
and my feet are tired from standing
my hands are numb
from holding open this Book of Life
reading all the words
to find my name
to realize
my hands carry this weight
as much as my feet
that half my body is assigned
to doing
so half my mind
as it withers in sacrifice
should find itself trained
not upon being
eating, drinking, desiring
but doing.

A Love Poem

Once I liked sleeping in cold beds
slipping between the sheets and shivering
until I formed a pocket of warmth
to sleep in

Now I can’t stand lying in a cold bed
because it means I’m not with you
you burn me to the touch, smoldering
like the embers you ignite in my heart
stirred like the fires of my soul
as they come to light
when our eyes meet

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Inscription

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