Ritualwell

Tradition & Innovation

The Light and the Wick

doctor checking patient's pulse (arms shown, but not faces)

It’s the last night of Hanukkah 
and I’m not sure eight candles are enough
to light your way home

You’re in the ICU surrounded by lights
and the sound of machines
breathing you alive
while we wait for a miracle,
breathless

“Will you pray for me?” you asked last year
“Do you want me to pray with you?”
Every time we spoke I feared
it would be the last time

I held your name
like a prayer on my lips
They say the soul clings to the body
like a flame to a wick
Life is light
and wax
and burning

Before I go to sleep 
I see the words of my prayers
wrap themselves around you
strings of letters pumping
into your veins with the IV fluid

“Stay alive,” I whisper,
to the light and the wick,
“Keep burning.”

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