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A poem after the High Holidays

AFTER THE HOLIDAYS


I empty the mother jar
    measure flour and water
        drape a dishtowel tallit

unearth one wilted celery
    and a faded fennel bulb,
        today's wholeness offering

soon diced onion hisses
    sibilant in the skillet
        glistening in chicken fat           

this is how I return
    after days of aching ankles
        heart cracked open from overuse

how can I cook
    when I'm faded as grass
        and empty as a shofar?

I turn old roots
    and sorrow's salt into
        soup fragrant as havdalah
               
the freezer yields
    what it's been withholding
        I invent the new year as I go
           
the humblest ingredients
    turn silky and transcendent
        after this long slow simmer
       
   

I began writing this poem right after Rosh Hashanah, and posted an earlier draft here -- After Rosh Hashanah. Here's the current version -- a slightly different shape, a new ending, a few revisions here and there. I think this version is better, though I'm curious to hear what y'all think. Maybe I needed to make it through both of the High Holidays before I could discern what this poem really wanted to be.

As always, I welcome feedback of all sorts.

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