woman in profile standing on sand dune in the desert
Sun breaks through its chains
Herbs are most potent for gathering
and the first manna falls from the sky,
food for infants and angels
that tastes of brightness and shadow.
We are counting,
counting our days from childhood to youth,
not yet knowing what routes will lead to
the base of a fiery mountain
or what instructions await us there.
If we remember the daily count
will new paths open in the heavens?
Will we find direction in a pillar of cloud?
If we allow our struggles to take their course
will our descendants found new nations?
Rebecca falls,
falls in love and slides off her camel,
kneels in the pain of pregnancy and is answered
with an oracle of future strife between her twins.
Yet she faces South in thanks for clarity,
for the coming milk that will fill her breasts,
for faithfulness of kin and servants.
Miriam’s well appears like new love.
After her song is done
she offers water to multitudes;
they drink and take their first day of rest.
These are days to be measured,
each a small sacrifice.
These are days of nurture,
nights of guidance.
Here in the desert we learn the language of trust.
In her shaded canyons earth reveals a merciful oasis.
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