When the Captives Were Set Free, God Spilled Her Light

For Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker and the people of Colleyville, Texas

When the rabbi opened the synagogue door
To a man in need on a quiet Shabbat morning
In January, he held out one gleaming shard
Of this broken world to another
With a welcome and an open heart.
He attempted to fit one piece to another,
But the man’s soul was so shattered the pieces
Were too tiny to sift through.
The man saw his own reflection in the cracked glass
Of the rabbi’s kind eyes
And his misdirected rage bounced round
And round inside him in confusion,
He could not look directly
At the light of another’s face.
He let his sharp edge through the door.

Voices, shouts, phone calls, comments,
Hours of fear, prayers, held
Breath. God did not answer
Our prayers. She kept busy
With her regular, heavy labor,
Sowing light in the hearts
Of those praying or worrying or checking
The news, checking on friends.

She remained a steadfast presence
In that cold room where the rabbi
And three companions gathered
Her light close as the man twisted
And turned in his own darkness.

She kept weaving her light
Through the doors of the Catholic church nearby
Where the pastor, imam, and rabbi held space
For those needing it.

When the captives were finally
Set free, God sighed in relief,
Letting all her carefully held
Light spill. We tweeted prayers
Of gratitude, not knowing who
To tag. She read them
With so much regret and love,
Tucking each one in her starry pocket,
Then placed her hand on the soft globe
Of the earth as though smoothing
The hair on a child’s head.
She looked this way and that,
Picking up one shard and then another,
Not knowing where to begin.

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