Miriam’s Sister’s Song

a collage features a hand reaching towards the sun
It was never fair, and nobody said otherwise. My version:
something went crooked in her bones, her muscles, yet her
determined gaze maintains strength, certainty, experience.
Give her time to press her words out—listen, a decade bound
to the unforgiving frame of a wheelchair hasn’t flattened her mind
and when the text is clear enough, she annotates; she taps
(when her hands obey her brain) the AI tools, and teaches; families
determined to have their immigrant children succeed call on her
for math, chemistry, engineering—the steel frame of success
their sturdy darlings can seize, stand up against, climb. While she,
cursing at the cursor, texts me to say she’s lost more nerves
as the latest mini stroke swipes control of the left foot, the leg,
something connected to digestion. If I could, I’d carry her like Hannah
carried Samuel, his hair shorn, eyes wide, wondering how G-d,
suddenly mother and father to him, would tuck him in at night.
I’d find a dove for an offering. Pile my old resentments on a goat
and drive it into dry wilderness. Pick up a bowl of henna
to ink blessings across her cheeks and sing for her, while she,
with raw remains of vocal chords, corrects my words. Always, always,
she’s chosen to repair my songs. For my sister, may those stairs
into the temple vanish. May the wheelchair roll forward,
the words across the altar enlarge to legible, the holy fire blaze
with power. Make room beyond the river for my sister, who
is singing Miriam’s song.
Collage created by the poet


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