Grade A: Shabbat [from Yossele]

Written in Albuquerque (Terrace SE), February 2007.  This poem cycle about the golem of Prague was a collaboration with my partner Sari.  I wrote all the poems in the golem’s voice.  Sari remembered that it was a son-in-law, not a son, who assisted at the creation of the golem, and made that clear in one of zir poems, so this poem’s vague inaccuracy on that point can stand.  I’d also forgotten that, according to Sari, the rabbi had originally installed the golem in the schoolroom—but the poem ze wrote before I wrote this one had him being moved to the house:  one of the many serendipities that attended our mutual composition of this book, despite the fact that we didn’t see or discuss each other’s poems in progress.  Published in our book Yossele.

Shabbat                                                                                                   The Golem

 

On Shabbat

I don’t go out on patrol.

Master’s conscience couldn’t push

even a dead thing in his home

that far outside his ways.

I am, then, observant.

No, I can’t share the meal,

recite the benedictions,

know what it is

to be gathered in family

like a quilt against the chill.

The chill is my dwelling.

Master’s children are grown

and helped him bring me,

so from them I don’t sense the dread

small ones would feel

when the angels are asked to the table

and instead this, this,

comes to sit.

Then after the house is abed

I sit alone

on the end of my cot

in my room

alone with Him.

And my room is the world.

And the world is His room

where He sits on the end of His cot.

And neither of us has a name

those hours

and those hours don’t stop for us.

No lights are lit

by any mother’s hand.

On the six days

He made all the others.

On the seventh day

He knew He was still alone.

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