Through the Arch

Before the stone arch, you stand, deep in the desert, your heart
beating, thrumming, calling me. So small to face
such a vast space. I say It is only an accident
of sediment, of erosion. Only an arch. You can see
the far side, there it is no different from where you stand

but did you call me to proclaim facts? You know
what you need—you need to calm your trembling
skin, you need to gather the insistence of every cell, you need to feel
how the ground may give way beneath the burden of you.
I smell the detergent and dread of your sweat, you civilized animal
walking into the wilderness your soul creates as it throbs
through your veins. Your foot rises. Your leg reaches out.
When your foot settles you will be yourself only the way the breeze
remains itself inside the tornado,

and you will discover what it is to honor something beyond your own
infinitely elaborate beautiful brain. Lift your second foot and you find yourself
unafraid to praise, to invoke, to summon, to draw down the moon, to invent
a dozen new awkward human invitations to me. Clumsy, rough, but carried along
by the same singing rush you create with each tender step.

I watch you go, your trail incandescent. You will discover that motion is a kind
of faith, and you will go on moving and moving until you find you no longer need to
move at all. At this still point you will let me brush the last of the dust
from your brow. You’ll say But getting here was so easy! And I’ll say
What evidence did you ever have that redemption would be hard?


From Fringes: a feminist, non-zionist havurah.

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