Lord quite innocent of what it is to live
bound in paper, bound in steel,
bound in the incredible ignorance supplied
by irony and suffering — how are You?
I regret that I am unable to see You, wrapped as I am in time,
soiled and sickened by personal situations,
unable to find You, the real You, in the creases
of Your misprints. A few spots of light
wade toward me from the roots of life,
a few spots of fear, fingers of decomposition.
Otherwise, I’m fine, unable to see you
but ready to shut my eyes
and feel my way through the cemetery of Your longing —
or is it mine? — for someone else
to take responsibility for life.
You live too much and I live too,
one of innumerable lines You true,
purged and poisoned by Your silence,
rubbed and mounted by the dark
I tell myself is You.
Joy Ladin is Gottesman Professor of English at Yeshiva University and the author of six books of poetry. Her memoir, “Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders,” was a finalist for a 2012 National Jewish Book Award and a Forward Fives winner.
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