Thresholds October 6, 2010

We come through one gasping for air

and leave by another gasping for air.

Most of our time on earth is spent

crossing them. After fifty-eight years

I think they may be my home.

On this trip, I walk from night

into day, from home into car

from car into plane, from

plane into the old world.

In Prague there are nets over

the heads of statues. No one

knows why. Perhaps to keep

them from coming alive. Perhaps

tearing the nets from our faces

is another threshold.

It rains slowly here, not heavily

as if the God of Eastern Europe

is remembering how to cry.

Along the way none of this

seemed to go together. But

the heart is a loom whose

weave is experience.

The last day I walk from

the hotel into a van, from the

van into a camp, from the camp

into a crematorium and stand

at the ash end of four ovens

holding a mezuzah.

The prayers inside speak of

curses and blessings and jealous

gods. That’s not why I hold it. I hold

it because life is a constant crossing

and we need to carry what we know

in something that won’t burn.

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