Shavuot is coming
The Torah of our Mothers: Reb Zalman, Shavuot 5770, 4am

Mother poem: croup


The angel who taught you Torah
in the comfort of the womb
might have warned you

the world holds this too:
night stretching endless,
your breathing labored

every hoarse and broken cry
a wordless plea for comfort
no one here can give, but

the tap above your lip
just before you emerged
into this great wide open

made that otherworldly wisdom
recede, and all I can offer
as you bury your face in my neck

is the ache in my chest
to match yours, my murmured
request for healing

ascending like water vapor
and dissipating
into the listening skies

Another mother poem this week. Before anyone gets worried, let me assure y'all that Drew is doing fine -- though I'm here to tell you, croup is no fun for anyone.

This poem draws on a text from Talmud (tractate Niddah 30b) which holds that before each of us is born, "A lamp shines over our heads with which we learn the entire Torah and see from one end of the universe to the other." At the moment of birth, the angel who had been holding that mystical lamp taps the unborn child on the mouth (some say this is the origin of the facial feature known as the philtrum) and all of that learning is forgotten -- maybe so that the child can experience the joy of re-learning it all during her or his lifetime.

This week's prompt at Big Tent Poetry is a wordle word cloud. I love those, and I like the words, so I wanted to write a second poem this week -- but the draft I came up with never made me happy, so I'm not sharing it. Instead, I'll just link to this week's come one, come all post so you can read what others wrote too.