Holding You

a withered Torah scroll
I held the Torah today
wrapping my arms
around our story.

Such a strange day
for a holiday,
Such an odd day
for dancing.

I was holding you–
my sisters in Tel Aviv
my brothers in Ashkelon.

I was holding you–
my siblings
murdered in the kibbutzim…

my children,
My aunts, my uncles
kidnapped, forced into Gaza.

And I was holding you–
my cousins
born into a strip of
hell at the border.

I hold all of you

All of you,
the Torah tells me–
You are each my family.

Listening to the last lines
of the Torah today,

I saw the last piece of
parchment tied to the
wooden roller.

For the first time
I thought

What if we never
read the beginning again–

What if this last piece of
parchment was the end

Where would my family be?
Who would I hold?
Who would hold me?

—written the evening after Simchat Torah, two days after the attack on Israel, 50 years after the Yom Kippur War
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