Category Archives: Syllabics

Shekhinah, Immortal

Her hair is a memorial. Her skin
a living shroud. Her blood cells cascade
down rapids, through tributaries,
spin inner tubes on byways.
She is a plump seed bank
of stem cells layered
with nudges and
nuance, still
with laughter.
Curious, she
is the one who
focuses the lens,
phases from shimmer to
prismatic, with crisp edges.
She leans over the microscope,
an incandescent eye, radiant
and restrained. Her dragons are shapechangers,
quiescent one moment, knit with stars
the next. They sidestep each question
like a dancer, a duelist,
incomplete but still close,
an invitation
(what will you do,
what won’t you)
with no
to say
yes. Or not.
The open hand
still needs translation.
Secrets bulge in spaces
between the fingers. Transmute
a breath to a whisper. Somewhere
someone already knows this, and has
forever. It will be so obvious.

Shekhinah Stitches a Quilt

of time,
of touch,
bunch up
on the
she draws
through cloud,
through skin,
of self

Shekhinah Slept Here

She roars from bedroom to bedroom as if
they are all the same. Maybe they are. Were.

They all have her in them. The narrow twin
featherbed, the cast iron frame, embroidered

pillows in a room of tall thin windows
with handmade white lace curtains and sunlight.

The massive futon on the floor, under
a wine-red velvet floor pillow, sculpted

for decadence, rounded where bodies lay.
The wood cradle in the corner, empty

and unfinished. A train thundering past
slatted windows in the dark, wheels throwing

sparks, horns blaring. The storeroom where a girl
lies under a coat with her back against

heavy boxes. The red couch, coffee-stained,
in the women’s restroom. The canopy

of teal silk, gold and silver fish swimming
urgently upstream. The crib, its endboards

decorated with pink and blue creatures,
a fox, a cat crowned with woven flowers.

The pursuit goes on, ricochets though years.
Surely there is, there was one with answers.

Shekhinah Closes Her Eyes

Senses collide, overlap. How does
a bite of apple float like spun sugar
against the tongue, cool as first snowflakes.

Pomegranate seeds stumble under
her fingers like a stutter in the throat,
then catch, cat claw jealous, swell and drip.

Chill against the hollow of her hand,
the whisper of a scent she chooses
to ignore, sometimes sticky, sometimes slick.

Shekhinah on Horseback

Watch her on the mare, walking into dawn,
trekking over grasses woven into
rugs thick as her hair, braided. They’re walking

beside waters that start to screech like jays
and roar as if attacking a fortress
stuffed to the brim full of steeds, whickering

out of sight. The courtyard is a clear place,
a quiet tide pool, a placebo for
the ravaged world. Watch her on the mare as

it plays dead, and the bells ring, calling out
demons at noon, to die in some café
where slices of daylight fall on the floor

and are served up on a plate. Watch her on
the mare, her arms carrying the blue man,
enduring the blue winds playing around

with shimmering thoughts smeared like bands of bright
colors, prisms between toasted bagel,
delicious as drugs, pressed flat as binders.

Shekhinah Clears the Dining Room Table

Gooseberry jam and cranberry mustard
should have gone in the pantry, and not here.
Last of the jar of pomegranate juice?
(Just drink it.) Thermos of still hot coffee?
But it’s too late in the day for caffeine.
Tomorrow, perhaps. All those cookbooks full
of dreams, and the poetry magazines

stuffed with anger, wry pain, and surprises.
One surprise is to see her name there. Oh!
And names of her friends. So many of them.
Well, maybe not exactly friends. More mail:
messages about money, from a god
divided, “statement enclosed” (from the dead),
letters to answer (from the still living).

Jars set to dry after washing, their lids
somewhere else entirely, and they can’t be
set right without both, wherever they are.
A can of chickpeas. That’s right, she meant to
make hummus. Crayons. Rubber bands. Dragons
on stamps torn off envelopes. Her glasses.
There they are! She hasn’t worn them in days.

Shekhinah Paints the Sky with Flowers

Morning and evening
the sky is streaked with

azaleas. Night
is drawn in snowdrops,

bluestar, columbine,
squill, morning glory

She scrubs ridged clouds hard

with grass to bring out
the green, and squeezes

the dandelion heads
until the sky drips

with yellow. This is
bright, she says, because

you need to see this,
to pay attention.

See how part is flat
and part is sculpted

round, circling itself.
This thing happening

is something you must
see, so look, here, watch.

Shekhinah Remembers

In her memories is everything, and everything has been
set aside, if not precisely forgotten. Step forward, step
back, rocking between the curious future and the just then,
the when that was not so long ago. After rollerblades, jet
boots; before skateboards, skis. And so it goes. Before Porsche, Beetle.
Before the horseless carriage, the horse. Before clippers, longboats.
Before armour, breastplates. She remembers. She has seen it all.
She has heard it all. Before brass, the shofar. After sheep, goats.
In Greece she said, remember how we lived, and they all walked out
from the cities to the grasslands, gathered seeds and mint, then drank
them together, hunted and threw the bones over cliffs. The drought
would spare them then, or not. Before Greece, blood-soaked altars smelled rank
and the bones burned to ash. After the tabernacle, temples.
Before the atom bomb, fire. And after. Memory crumbles.

Shekhinah Lights the Candles with Lightning

She’s electric, neon,
zapalicious, so bright

she covers her own eyes
with her hands. Shimmering

glimmers between fingers,
even breathing tingles

her tongue with the taste of
ozone. She is so hot

she’s frozen, icicle
sharp, a blade of light

cut clean, folded over
and ridged with crystals,

microscopic and curved.
She swerves into the day,

the new day, with a breath
between her and thunder,

between her and thunder
is a breath that says rest

is coming, the slow rain
is come, and says, just stay,

just wait inside. Just hide.
She’s neon, electric,

incandescent, so bright
you should cover your eyes.

Shekhinah Fishes in Alaska

She is not what she looks like, or she is.
She is hungry, or cares for someone else
who is hungrier, or will be. She walks
out onto the ice, kneels, and she takes off

her mittens. Mittens are life here, are made
of the life of others. She remembers,
but right now, only distantly. Instead,
she places her knife in one hand, and then

the other hand against the ice. She calls
a blessing from the sky and through the air
to the water that has forgotten Spring.
She calls blessing to the skin of her hand,

and ice melts under her hand until cold
ice water lifts the hairs on her forearm,
until her arm passes through ice into
the water below, where it is dark now.

Her eyes close as water moves around her
fingers. There is a tickling where small fish
come to explore the scent of her moving
through the water, her fingertips pulsing,

beating slow as drums waving back and forth
in air, or kelp in currents. She whispers
into the hand-shaped hole in ice, asking
for one who is old and already tired

to come to her hand, one with scales and fins
and fatigue, one ready to rest. She calls
blessings to fish who live under the ice,
a blessing to the light above and to

dark below. When a fish comes to her hand,
she is swift and merciful, the knife sharp
and precise. She is grateful. This fills need.
A blessing for the gift, and for the cold,

a blessing for the ice. She draws the cold
and ice upwards until there is no hole.
Snowflakes melt against her nose, and her hands
as she puts on first one mitten and then

the other. She walks back to shore, the same
as when she walked to ice. Gusts of wind shift
the snow until even she could not say
where she had knelt, or walked, and she walks on.