The Miracle of Oil

a glass Hanukkah menorah
I have nothing to drill with
except this pen.
 
I have no bronze bowl
to hold what’s precious.
 
No Maccabee of a story.
No symphony of words.
 
I remember riding the BART with a friend. We were in college and outraged
and she said, you can’t put a word like patriarchy in a poem.
 
All I have are words
that rumble against the tracks.
 
Don’t write unless your words emerge from the depths, the teacher says.
I cap my pen. I plug the well.
 
Sarah was the first to perform the miracle
of loaves and light.
 
And when she died, the oven cold
the tent went dark.
 
Until a new bride rode in on her camel.
We’re far across that desert now
 
blading stones
from the wells our fathers dug.
 
What if it’s plaque that’s stopped my synapses?
Absent of oil, I’m all friction. No flow.
 
I’m drilling
into darkness
 
to where the rabbis’ promise
flickers still.
 
After 8 long nights melt wax,
maybe. For now, I nudge the faucet,
 
keep a trickle dripping
against the freeze.

 

 

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