Teshuva: Turning and Return
- August 17, 2020
- Posted by: dreamingcode
- Category: Poetry
Poem written by Ann Bookman, used with permission from Points of Attachment (Finishing Line Press, 2012)
In a synagogue of strangers
I said the Kaddish prayer:
I was a mourner without minyan
when my mother died.
The words meant nothing, sounds everything,
the chanting of ancient Aramaic
slid stealthily into prayerless nights.
In a thicket of ignorance I wandered
unable to read a prayer book in Hebrew.
As a girl, I hid the names of my ancestors,
dismissed their language,
straightened my hair.
Saturday mornings we visited my grandfather,
I thought the Sabbath was Sunday.
On the morning of Yom Kippur,
the call to prayer shaped
the landscape of my wilderness,
my narrow place. I sought water
found only a dry riverbed: swirling patterns
of sand held the memory of water,
no relief for my thirst.
When will I admit my own longing,
or speak aloud my first prayer?
I pray to cast away shame.