Akher

I thought about writing a long introduction to this poem but I think sometimes these things need to stand on their own. This is a poem I wrote after I tried to learn some Torah on Sefaria today. I don’t always feel this way, but these conflicted emotions are definitely a part of my Jewish identity right now:

I scroll through pages

digitalized archives

words that elude my comprehension

 

I whisper

tell me why you’re worth it

tell me why you’re worth my time

make me love you

again

 

the sound of you on my tongue

the slip of you beneath my

charcoal-stained fingertips

 

be real again

not this

emptiness

that eats me whole

 

let your lilting rhythm mean

something other than pain

to me

 

Dear Torah:

you have been stolen from me

by the dark grasping of fundamentalism

they sharpened your edges

in order to draw blood

 

while my body’s blood

free from violence

is incarcerated behind black lines

 

God

Is laughing

and I am unsure if it is with

or without malice

Yet

here I am

drawn in by abusers’ sins

 

like a child I touch the pages

through a screen

I am always behind a screen

waiting for characters and punctuation

to seduce me

 

But I do not feel ravished

sated like I do after my

other intellectual pursuits

I am just picking at the scar tissue

slowly

 

In seeking to undo previous pain

I’m just making it worse

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