Thursday, October 13, 2005

'Avino Malkeinu'

The boys fidget in stiff button-down shirts
tucked into pressed pants. They count
pages until the service ends; I try
to tell them prayer isn't linear. We return

again and again, approach redemption
then circle away. Breath echoes through
the hollow of a ram's horn one hundred times.
The gates are closing. The shofar's clarion,

raises gooseflesh across my arms, the hairs
on my neck snap to attention. We chant
the vidui once, twice, many times. Forgive
us. We have trespassed. We have lied,

We have betrayed.
The words older
than my grandmother's grandmother's
earliest memory. The congregation sings
avino malkeinu; harmonics rise. We lament

in a minor key. My children are free
to whine when I drag them to services;
The ghosts of martyrs haunt me. I buy
another year of their silence with my voice.

ljcohen, 2005

No comments:

Post a Comment