From Av to Elul

yellow flower in field with sunlight

From grief to teshuvah, returning

A passage through

narrowed caves,

graveyards, wilderness,

down rivers, across oceans

on rubbled brick and asphalt,

from grief and mourning


traumatic assaults passed on

through tissue and cell memories,

woven through language, breathe,

recalling cherished homes, felled

forests, burning sanctuaries,

that old helplessness

despair, defeat, the long

laments of the interior

wounds –

if only


if only I had lived

with more audacity,

love, forgiveness.

if only

I had been less

devoted to worshiping

my unworthiness

allowing this spinning planet

be my trusted partner

in the practices

of belonging.


Elul emerges

from smoke and fog

with the voices of two hawks

cawing, longing to find

food, each other,

as crickets, grasshoppers

sing for the beloved,

from the shimmering blue

lake merging with indigo mountains

illuminated letters etched

in overhanging cloud,

from the sanctuary of ten

oaks encircling my home

dwarfing and elongating

me with delight, gratitude, awe,

from the grace of a steady rain

in the midst of a long drought.


I move from Av to Elul

shepherding my wandering

intentions and ancient

grief, to respond

with ferocious loving attention

to the desecrated air, burning

fields, mountains, wasting rivers,

to the calling of all

assaulted species

for witness, repair


every flower, every leaf

suckling on light

calls me awake

as mother, child

as body, earth

my teshuvah

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