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.