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.