Jamie Wendt Rooted

She counts the memories

she will never have because she moved West.

Sasha Pimentel Chacon from “Bamboo”

Transatlantic waves beat rhythms

against my body’s yearning,

my heart aching for the honey

a land gives to its children.

Eyes closed behind cupped hands,

I recite my prayers, reach

for the doorknob of a small home

closing in on itself.

Behind my eyes, I hold

the promised valleys, deserts, waterfalls

hugging each end of holy land.

Orchards burst where my feet are planted

like acacia roots.

I am everyone’s sister.

I want to taste Hebrew on my tongue every day,

seedy and flowing like pomegranate juice.

I want to feel the presence

of strangers like family I always knew

existed but didn’t know where to find.

The sun lowers Saturday night,

believers cry into ancient walls,

babies shriek love songs

at their mothers’ breasts.

Women dance in the red

light as it cascades the sky

and disappears. I want to hold

their weathered hands,

braid my hair into theirs,

because our births were thunder

or laughter peeling away, cornstalks

pulled from the earth too early or late.

I want to wait for jellyfish

under streaked Mediterranean sunsets,

let salt and dead sea mud cover my skin.

I want to memorize the land’s trees and fruit,

the animals that rest and run there.

I would dip pita into hummus

on the beach and be happy.

I count the days I know I won’t have:

army training, walking backwards from the Kotel

before each Shabbat, cooking tradition

long into the dark, friends in and out, house lights on timers

turning off in the middle of sex, in the middle

of soldiers’ hikes, men climbing through valleys,

searching for meaning in the shifting of what’s inside.

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