Ringing In

On the last Shabbat before the new year

I braced in the last row of the sanctuary,

Waiting to greet the bride

And mourn my brother.


At the front of the room a family

Leaned together and clasped hands,

Their happy milestone plowed together

With bar mitzvahs and me this night.


But as the ark opened, the rabbi’s mic

Picked up the clinks and glissades

Of the Torah undressed of its

Crowns and regalia,


And sent back to my corner

The noise of a box of cymbals,

Thrown down steep stairs

To crash open the door


Of a past year, written but

Never sealed—the last clanging edge

Wedging the doorframe wide,

A book’s worn binding struck open


To where it says some you love

May die by beasts, by water or fire,

The old expedients whose names

Choke beneath the song of this new year.


September 2012


Copyright © Josh Jacobs 2012

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