Holding my hand
Good (Yotzer Or)



The CSA's first distribution week:
the flower gardent nascent, not yet formed.
The fields are all potential. No one knows
what plagues or pleasures yet will come to pass.
Who can say which plants will thrive this year?
This week the share's all leaves in shades of green:
tatsoi, arugula, yokatta na.
Atop my bag I nestle precious roots:
French radishes, like fingers, long and pink.
Pick up a pen to mark that I was here
on this first week in June, the season's cusp.
My name's listed alone, while his is paired.
The tears that come I blink away, and blame
upon the radishes' surprising bite.



Clouds of pearly fluff float through the air
revealing hidden currents. Poplar seeds,
each with a silken parachute: they twirl,
make visible the breeze that strokes my neck.
I'm floating too, buoyed sometimes by forces
I can't see. Other times I feel
discarded by the tree that once was home.
Every breath I take's an act of trust
that in time I'll land, and root myself
in unfamiliar soil I can't yet know.
Can I learn to love being so light
I no longer insist I'm in control?
"God was not in the cloud: the still small voice..."
I wait, and drift, and listen for its sound.



Skills that I've begun to learn this year:
How not to shrink. How not to defer.
How to claim the whole bed as my own.
How to shop and cook for every meal.
How to pull over and cry by the side of the road.
How to be triggered by Facebook. How to dress
to kill -- on New Year's Eve, in low-cut silk
chiffon bought secondhand -- without a date.
How to be alone, night after night
(after I put the kid to bed), and wake
likewise alone, and if not celebrate
my solitude, at least no longer mind.
When will I earn my merit badge in grief?
This course is long, and there's no syllabus.



And then one day I wake and nothing hurts.
No ache behind my throat. Modah ani!
It isn't "closure," quite; that's just a myth.
Some things are linear, but never this:
growth doesn't come in measurable steps.
The music changes. So, too, does the dance.
I'll weep again, maybe by afternoon
but now hope rises in me like the tide.
I have no map: so what? I turn the dial
on my kaleidoscope. New pieces fall.
Each day a new blank page waits to be filled
and I can't skip ahead to see what comes.
I let my fingers hover on the keys.
Only one way to find out what I'll write.



When Moses saw the bush that burned, he gaped.
The glowing heat did not consume the wood.
The branches sang with tongues of vibrant flame.
God said, "This place is holy ground: now go.
The One Who Is Becoming sends you forth."
How did it feel to be the sign, afire?
As Frankl said, "Those who give light must burn."
And in my burning, can I mark the way
for others on this labyrinthine path?
I'm unsure where I'm going, but I know
each character in Torah lives in us.
If I'm the bush, then I'm the prophet, too:
released from habit, tender and exposed.
Take off my shoes, and let myself be changed.


I haven't written sonnets in a while. There's something about the constraint of the form that matches well, for me, with writing about these emotionally complicated realities. 

"God was not in the cloud: the still small voice..." See I Kings, 1:19

Modah ani. The morning prayer for gratitude, about which I've written many times before.

It isn't "closure," quite; that's just a myth. See On divorce and ambiguous loss.

"Those who give light must burn." I massaged the quote a bit to make it fit the iambic pentameter; the original is "What is to give light must endure burning."

"This place is holy ground: now go. The One Who Is Becoming sends you forth." See Exodus 3, the story of the bush that burned but was not consumed.

Take off my shoes, and let myself be changed. That's a reference to a Hasidic commentary on Exodus 3:5; read more.