On caring for the home care workers who care for us
Etrogcello for Tu BiShvat

What I Carry

 for Dale


It was said of Reb Simcha Bunim that he carried two slips of paper, one in each pocket. On one he wrote: Bishvili nivra ha-olam -- "for my sake the world was created." On the other he wrote: V'anokhi afar v'efer -- "I am but dust and ashes."


In my pockets: receipts
for last autumn's drycleaning,
tampons, tissues,

the crumpled ticket stub
from a Paris airport train,
worn from repeated fingering.

The whole cosmos unfolds --
from the Big Bang to right now
-- so I could wear these boots.

But I'm one tiny dot
on a vast pointillist canvas.
From a distance, no self matters.

The real trick, you're right,
would be to swap the papers.
Which shell is the pea under?

Maybe I'm insignificant.
Maybe I'm everything.
Watch me open my hand.