For the mother who rises
in darkness to baby sleep noises
sigh tiny cough exhale little grunt
blanketed in the film of her eye,
tucked into her heartbeat.
She cries over capturing her own silent film.
This is a new year of industry.
Tears soaking her palm, she prays hard
to the one God above the sanctuary–
the stained-glass ceiling even says,
all men were created equal,
all men were created in God’s image–
while the little one eats on demand,
her bearing burden timed bowing low now
in thanks in sin.
The cantor is prostrated as a symbol
so everyone else can remain seated.
It is too difficult to memorize
each inch of skin, each prayer page,
each Hebrew letter without vowel,
each wandering night, each door propped open,
while the mother sleepwalks,
her breasts loose, a milked well,
matriarch misplaced outside the tent.
Or has she forgotten herself
somewhere in the red silk, the blankets
of women’s bodies dotting the land?
At home, someone decorated the table with sweet apples,
their housed seed
and perspiring skin ready to be dipped.