A street with footprints in the light layer of dusty snow
Alex Majoli / Magnum

Invitation

A poem for Sunday

My initials curled inside the oval like three robins  
crowding a tree hollow.

The card stock was beveled, the envelopes lined in airy pink paper.

My father was dying

quietly like the sound of his pen lifting  
then touching down again.

Once, waking from a nap, he asked me, “Will I be okay?”
and I said, “Yes.”

Then it was time to chant Torah. I’d been called to fill the sanctuary
by a new Hebrew name, a derivative of “life.”

I liked it—the chance to be divested of particulars, to be marked instead
by the narrative of crossing, which was my Torah portion, Exodus,

Moses stretching out his hand over the sea and then God parting it in half

like a child’s hair,

and the Israelites walking into the midst upon dry ground
like the ground I was standing on,

January, a freshly shoveled street on which the thinnest layer of snow
covers the cement, then turns back into water.