The Angels of San Bernardino: prayer after a shooting
Worth reading on Chanukah this year



The moon wanes
and I ache.
Kindle one flame
against the dark.

If I can
say your name
even to myself
I'm not alone.

You remind me
that dwindling hope
is the seed
of hope reborn.

Even down here
where I've fallen --
look: your light
is with me.

Can I awaken
you from below,
give you even
a measure of

what I receive?
Refracted between us --
what a blaze
might we shine?


This is another poem in my ongoing series of poems of yearning for the Beloved. (It may or may not make it into Texts to the Holy -- I already have 36 poems in that manuscript, which seems like the right shape for that chapbook, but I'm considering whether they are the right 36 or whether some of them might need to change. I might swap this one in for one of the existing poems.)

The moon wanes... Tonight we kindle the first light of Chanukah. Chanukah always comes as the moon of Kislev is waning and as we in the northern hemisphere are approaching, or already in, the year's period of greatest dark. You remind me...  At this time of year we are always reading the Joseph story, replete with its themes of descent for the sake of ascent. (I've written about that before.) For Joseph, as perhaps for us, falling into a place which might seem hopeless is the first step toward rising to something better. Can I awaken you... The idea that we can awaken or arouse God from "below," from here in creation, and in so doing heighten the light or blessing which God pours into creation (אתערותא דלתתא) comes from the Zohar.

May your Chanukah be filled with light.