A yad for Rabbi Goldstein

A yad for Rabbi Goldstein
This is a gift
for a Bat Mitzvah girl
becoming a woman today:
a wooden arm and hand
to point your way among
the forested words of Torah.
In normal times you might
give a nice pen, some money,
or even an elegant pointer
to nudge a young person
that they might learn and keep the faith.
But now we enter this place
with more urgency, less polish.
This pointer is not painted
nor does it end with silver fittings
but abruptly at the elbow.
The arm up to the base
is mostly covered, white long-
sleeved in all weathers,
the cuffs split open now
by paramedics' scissors.
Where the index finger—
for the hand's defining work—
would normally extend, you have
instead a fragment, left
cauterized in place;
the other four reach out,
still, underlining
the next vital phrase.
And though it is
uncomfortable to hold
or claim as your own,
you may one day need
to take up this arm
and hold your place
in the book, in your land,
no matter what.