On increasing one's happiness
Pushcart nomination!

"This is evening prayer at 5pm / as Kislev gets underway..."






This is evening prayer at 5pm
as Kislev gets underway:
a wail from my son who yearns
for a playground in the dark,
a tiny wooden train careening
around a skewed 8 of track.
Pocoyo's chirpy cartoon songs.
The red velour couch invites
limp relaxation,
an oasis of stillness.
And God is merciful
and covers over our sins,
a giraffe-patterned blanket
draped lovingly over our hearts.

This poem naturally took a fourteen-line form, though I wouldn't call it a sonnet per se. It arose out of my desire to pray the evening service (challenging at best when one is caring for a toddler) -- and my hope that when all of life is imbued with prayerful consciousness even the most mundane of actions can be prayerful.

Maariv -- Jewish evening prayer -- begins with the verse "And God is merciful, forgives iniquity, does not destroy, is quick to turn away ire, and keeps anger in check. God, save us! May our king answer us when we cry out." (That's from Psalm 78:38.) The word for "forgives" is y'chaper, יְכַפֵּר, which comes from a root which can also mean to cover-over -- hence the way the poem ends.