Post-Selichot, and pre-Rosh Hashana, I find myself in a particularly reflective mood. We have collectively entered upon a time of introspection, but it is also a time where we are under a lot of pressure to come up with answers: Will you forgive me? Will next year be better? Am I a good enough Jew?
In Preparation for Rosh Hashana
I stalk the neighborhood looking for a calmer mood,but only find gas stations.Sitting on the corner of Harvard and 11th,I realize that I’m staring at the helix of the streetlamplike I’m some kind of bugin plausibly desperate search of a soul,or a blind pilotagainst a sky still blue and lacewhen the world expects grey.How do you say, ‘I’m sorry for all the shampoo bottlesI threw away with half an inch of soap left at the bottom,’and ‘I’m sorry that sometimeswhen I give food to homeless folks on the streetI feel a little too good about myself,’like I can collect pointsto use next time I’m accidentally racist or something.How do you say, ‘I’m sorry.’for 28 years of not volunteering on Christmas?I’m sorry I don’t call my mother more often,that I’m no longer vegan,and that I was ever seventeen.
It’s honey we wantbut all that’s here is wine-turned-to-vinegar from dinner last weekand we walk – to shul-to the buseyes taut and open and looking upin an orbital pleaas we step by step make the patternsof the days of our livesmade of daysmade of patterns.It’s honey we wantbut no one was marriedor maybe God wasn’t invited to the wedding.
I’ll wash my hair in clover, wear a white dress,beat my chest,and cry.With tired eyes closed, trust metrust me I’ll sing songs I don’t understandnot because I am supposed to, but becauseI need to.
And I’ll walk, drawing patterns behind meof yesterday and last yearand hoping that tomorrow,maybe tomorrow vinegar will be honey.