First Day of Rosh Hoshanah

"It was as if we'd been given to walk through a world to come."
—Carolyn Forche, "The Notebook of Uprising, XXII"

As if the cemetery were a field of doors
As if the earth was tired, marked in remnants
      that the fire wanted to destroy,
      smoke circling Liberty's head
As if we'd been given enough bread to place on the river
As if we fell into a light of slow time, memory reversed
As if the amber field was frightened of the truth
As if the headstones on that amber field opened & more
      explicit phrases survived:
          beloved, you were loved
          there, you were there
          your wing is ready for flight

As if a window in the heart was shining, transparent,
the rain.

           *

Starlings rustle in midnight trees by the Gihon river;
we light a bonfire, send paper wishes
into the black dome above us, above the village

            *

At Journey's End, Stephen picks up a crimson
leaf, sets it into the palm of my hand. I imagine
the hissing fire beneath. What remains
on its own terms: this yellow-green light,
a half-light, really, falling on oak, birch, & maple;
little wind shaking down another gold
rain of leaves.

Rita Maria Magdaleno. Vermont Studios, 9/19/01.
"My Sister," photo by Rebecca Seiferle.





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