THE PROGRESS: In a Sukkah in Paris

for Mira Niculescu

It doesn’t take long to sit with the mourners. There is a blessing to sit to stand to rise up. There is a blessing to bind the hand. There is a curse on the ground there is a blessing for the rising moon. The rabbi holds the long bread in the air: it has fins– and scales of sesame. It is almost a fish. Which blessing should he give? He cups the silver cup. Between reeds a cool harvest moon. The air moves, the water parts. There is a first breath a last breath. Between, words find their footing. We stumble along sometimes telling the truth sometimes we skip a step. My foot hovers. My tongue stays in my mouth. It cannot find a blessing. For a moment I am mute with tears.

I will lie on my side. I will rest alone for a while. I will turn my cheek to the rough wall. It is cool a comfort. It is almost a blessing. I remember the blessing for bread the blessing for a new day. My cheek is so warm. The blood blesses me. Bless the blood bless the bone. Bless the rooster who understands dawn. Who has good sense to read new light on its toe. Bless the face supernal. Stay up late and bless the new crowned queen. Bless the nerves. Bless the rainbow bless the eye. My breath stumbles to a curt blessing. Last after so many– the true judge.

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