Yom Kippur 5770
Turn, turn, turn

Permeable: a poem for Sukkot


Today I'll finish our sukkah
stacking old wildflowers
to hint at roof, twining tinsel
around the slats

all year we imagine
our houses are our houses
stable and comfortable
waterproof and familiar

but these seven days
remind us that permanence
is overrated, that our true home
is under the stars

change is always underway
nine short weeks remain
until you'll leave the home
you probably think is forever

and enter our world
airy and unpredictable
where we won't know what you need
even sometimes when you tell us

your first big leap of faith, kid:
into nothing you've ever known
into the fragile sukkah
we've decorated just for you

Tonight at sundown begins the festival of Sukkot, when we spend a week "dwelling" (or at least hanging out and dining) in little outdoor houses. A sukkah must be permeable to the elements; one should be able to see the full moon through the loose branches of its roof. It's a celebration of the harvest (in this hemisphere) and a chance to remind ourselves that even the solid structures we build aren't as permanent as the fact of change.

Nothing hammers home that truth for me as vividly as my swelling belly, the squirms and kicks I've grown accustomed to feeling inside me, the hand-me-down baby gear accumulating in the nursery. So this week's poem -- not a Torah poem; just a poem-poem -- draws both on the Jewish holiday/seasonal cycle, and on the cycle of this embodied year and the changes in my life which are physically underway.

To those who celebrate, I wish a chag sameach -- may your Sukkot be joyful!

(To ReadWritePoem folks: alas, once again I didn't write to this week's prompt, but if you'd like to read the other responses, you can find them here: Get Your Poem On #94.)


Find previous Sukkot posts here.