Sunday, April 28, 2013

Coming Back

She stands in shul on Shabbos
for the first time in years
facing the open ark
doors spread wide
like angels wings
The people and the room
slowly disappear
all that remain are the ark and the
the ark and praying voices

...She is a little girl standing in her
grandfather’s yeshiva
watching from the doorway of the
women’s section
because she isn’t allowed in
the people and the yeshiva slowly
all that remain are the ark
and voices
the ark and
screaming voices.

The Torah watches in horror
the Torah hears in sorrow
the little girls silent protest
as her grandfather
the rosh yeshiva
takes her into
the bathroom and undresses
as the buchrim
sneak her upstairs and
tear her soul to pieces
The Torah sees it all.

Then the yeshiva is ripped down
nothing remains but a mound of
crushed wood
and piles of torn holy books
cascading down broken stairs.
the Torah is shipped away.
her memories buried in its parchment...

...This week in shul again miles and years away
she sees the Torah and remembers
what it witnessed
she is so very angry
why did you stand by and watch what was done to me?
why didn't you help me?
the Torah answers
I’ve been waiting for you,
It was I –
the same Torah who
lives in this shul today.
I was there in that yeshiva
from the time you were born
and I saw it all
I bear witness.
Wrap yourself in me and I’ll hold you.

I was going to die,
If not sooner then later
whether or not I’d ever spoken myself.
my silence did not protect me.
Your silence will not protect you.
Audre Lorde