Once Upon A Time Last Weekend

candle in the darkness
Once upon a time
last weekend,
it was my older son’s third birthday.
I laid in bed, next to my baby
opened the news–
tears started streaming into my ears.
I was lying there
in absolute silence
and the images started rising.
They haven’t stopped coming since then:
the sand in the desert plays hide and seek,
rising and dancing,
opening its mouth and
it swallowing them up. 


Once upon the time
last weekend,
we awakened and discovered
that we are naked,
and vulnerable.
That it is possible 
to shoot us, surprise us, abduct us, rape us, 
hunt us down
like sheep. 
Never again
is suddenly over.
I make applesauce for breakfast
and wonder what happens there
in the tunnels.


Once upon the time
last weekend,
something changed the composition of my body,
my memories,
and the way that I breathe.
Something happened
to my ideas of the future, my visions, my loves.
There is no dream that has not been altered
and no memory of the past remained intact.
I go to the playground asking
What are we doing?
Nothing new has happened,
but something happened.
I lost my sense of protection,
the last safe place on earth for us.
The walls have been breached. 


Once upon the time
I woke up,
And God had the face of a stranger.
We are sitting shivah here together,
with a bunch of others
watching the images
of children and plastic bags and women and motorcycles and
men and masks and crumbling buildings and guns and knives and
books about how to murder babies and crying fathers and smiling teenagers on old photos and
at some point in all this all our hearts are breaking
and nothing can stop it and please stop.


Once upon the time
last weekend,
my heart stopped beating,
only for one split second
and then I changed a diaper and
led two weddings.
I am singing
of a vision of all of us singing, filling the streets… 
I don’t want to bring my children
but I wish I was going.
I know
only bad news will come.
I am taking little, 
small breaths to keep the air in me moving
Baruch Atah Adonai, 
Natan v’Lakach.


Blessed are You, Adonai,
Who Gave and Has Taken. 
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