Vox Populi

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Jena Schwartz: Preparing for Sabbath

My name is caught in my throat.
I reach in and tug, lightly at first
and then with more force,
until it ribbons out from my mouth.

With this cloth, I'll cool your brow            
when the heat is too much,
I will wave it in the air
like a flag signaling no surrender
ever, I will hang it on my door
so that you know this house
will welcome you.

I will send it out into the desert
where it will find Jacob and Sarah
and the traveling temple
that has been dismantled
and reassembled more times
than there are stars.

This voice of mine is stuck tonight,
words falling everywhere as I prepare
for the Sabbath, sweeping piles
of debris from the ground,
reaching into my own throat
to make a clearing, and the sound
that comes is anguish, is grief,
is looking at the crevices
I've neglected, of burying my face
in the flowers after rain
and calling it prayer.

Copyright 2020 Jena Schwartz.

Jena Schwartz is a poet, writer and writing coach who lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.

5 comments on “Jena Schwartz: Preparing for Sabbath

  1. rosemaryboehm
    December 20, 2020

    Just lived in it while it lasted. Gorgeous. Satisfying.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Barbara Huntington
    June 26, 2020

    Sometimes a poem pauses me in my busyness. This one did. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Daniel Burston
    June 26, 2020

    Lovely, evocative, almost (but not quite) desolate. At the risk of belaboring the obvious, holiness and healing are elusive here, obstructed by the experience of pain and repeated dislocation, but still potentially present, within reach.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Saleh Razzouk
    June 26, 2020

    Nice flow. Like sad water in a depressed river. But hope floats in each sentence.
    I am in the middle of sun blast amid vast areas of sand. I feel this song.

    Liked by 1 person

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