Thoughtful Revolution

Poetry Break: Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur

Someone had told them that the Book of Life
was already bolted, that the only way to wrench it open
was to pray. They stared, unmoved

for what were words? Transactions, courtesies,
a string of curses when the hammer
slammed down too hard, missing the nail,
excuses, the sibilant lies of a love song,
as many and slight as the grains of sand
that chafed their feet;

yet, chastened by the warnings and the autumn storms
and the wild dogs whose barks lit up the sky
they prayed – and prayed – and prayed –
and after they had vomited up their insides
in a hail of guttural sounds, corrosive, sticky, bilious,
after they had spewed their words and purged themselves
beyond recognition,

all they could do was wash their mouths
and hope that the book might reopen,
and hope that the night would pass.


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