Avodah

person wrapped in white tallit

he gathers from each              a fear

                                                        a fruit

                                                        a plea

                                                        a potato

 

passed with sweaty palms to him

their eyes dare not raise above his pomegranate hem

 

he gathers               their cries

                                    their wood

                                    anything that might be gold

 

goes inside

balancing on one foot

and washing the other

 

                                careful with the shoulder clasps

                                layers of linen flat on his chest

                                the heavy jeweled vest

                                meld to his flesh

 

the basket’s burden is much more than its weight

 

in four layers of white

shuffling slowly Inward

a trembling ankle rope tethers him

but brings no comfort –

they cannot save him

 

to say the Name and live another day

is to seal the People for another year

 

he shuffles slowly, serving

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Poem