Eve of Kol Nidrei

a person wearing a white tallit

For the unfulfilled innate vow

to be ourselves

a vow deftly stolen from some


as Abraham, obedient, nearly took

the life of Isaac, a still broken

vow unto himself,


as Esau’s birthright was by Jacob

a parent’s inclination determined one

blind and blazing event after another.


And history’s mothers, wily or with silent

tears interceding, and fathers, awesome

and mild, too present or unseeing, absent


introduce us to our future.

Until today bowed, humble

white tents about our heads


                        we seek


                        for the words

                        of our lives

                        we did not utter


                        that only our keepsake hearts

                        were free to speak.

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