How To Survive the Day When It Feels Like the Whole World Is Against You

person wearing brown tallit silhouetted against the sunset
Grasp the handles of the holy cup
with alternating hands.
Rinse. Repeat.
Rinse. Repeat.
Rinse. Repeat.
Wash away nighttime impurities
and terrors and the haunting image
of the young girl
with bloodied pants.
Recite aloud prayer for thanks
for another day,
for another morning,
for another start.
Don a prayer shawl.
Bring it over your head
like a tent
like a house
like a shield.
Wrap yourself in leather.
Kiss the four corners
like you are kissing
the four corners of the earth,
like you are kissing
the crown of your children’s
heads, taking a moment
to be grateful for the heat
that emanates from their bodies;
signs of living
signs of endurance.
Drink a cup of coffee
but don’t read the news
instead, read your spouse’s face,
the wrinkles that accumulate
in the corner of his eyes;
signs of living,
signs of endurance.
Take a walk even though
the leaves are glazed in ice.
Relish the chill on your arms,
how it wakens a field of hairs;
signs of living,
signs of endurance.
Smile at strangers.
Wish them a good morning.
Wish for good mornings.
Let your children see
we wish good to all people;
signs of living
signs of endurance.
Call your mother
who sits in a bedroom
that is also a safe room
while sirens wail around her,
while children wail around you.
Ask her about the weather.
Tell her about the book
you read by the Israeli writer
who wrote about mothers
loving daughters and remember
to tell her, your mother, you love
her, you love your daughters.
Email your friend whose name
in Arabic means graceful, means
enchanting and check in on her.
Remember how you once sat together,
how they called you both,
The Peace-in-the-Middle-East-Girls.
How your friendship is a
sign of living together,
sign of enduring together.
Try not to wonder if a poem
that mentions an Israeli writer,
and an Israeli mother would
fall under the target of BDS.
Try not to wonder if you,
a daughter of Israel
falls under the target of BDS.
Cook dinner. Read a recipe
but do not read the news.
Cook something new and something
warm that can fill your belly with
something other than dread,
other than fear.
Sit with your family,
eat and ask them each
about their day,
their highs,
their lows.
Keep from them your lows.
Keep them from lows.
Listen as they talk to you;
a sign of living
a sign of your endurance
to laugh at their jokes
to nuzzle your face in
their necks as you dry them
from their baths.
Try not to think
of the children
who are not getting their baths,
who are not getting their parents.
Try not to think that these children
have Hebrew names, like yours.
Their parents have Hebrew names,
like yours.
Tuck your girls in at night
and sing them a lullaby
that is also a prayer
which is a sign of living,
a sign of endurance.
Allow the darkness
of their room to hold
the darkness in your mind
but do not let them see
you are also thinking
of the children
held inside darkness.
Always leave them
with extra kisses,
for them and for the
missing children,
so that they can face another day,
so, you can face another day.
A sign of living.
A sign of endurance.
And when you go back to
sleep at night, try not to think
of the girl with bloodied pants.
Think of the name Naama.
Think of the name Mara.
Think how they are all connected,
how they are all someone’s daughters.
Think of your daughters,
but don’t think of what the world
thinks of your daughters
or you won’t be able
to live, won’t be able
to endure, another day.
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