My questions, pleas to you ascend unvoiced,
rendered slowly in the crunching of pine
needles under feet, sweepings of slippers
ascending spiral carpet stairs, fragile
turnings and siftings of tissue-papered
scripture sieved between verses. Do you speak
likewise, to me, in these wordless tongues?
Your husband’s baritone servants sit, stand,
speak before lemon-oiled pulpits in black
suits, behind temple veils in snow-white ties,
while yours and you seem hidden, like naked
blushing skin under cotton-poly cloth.
In Eden, Elohim—a plural name—
commands creation from a single mouth.
This silence slices and divides, my God,
twists my heart into braided tourniquets.
Why don’t you speak, stand, be seen beside him,
when he reveals himself? Why must bruises
blossom kneeling on hardwood floors, bed-side
half-God altars, lips forming prayers and praise
penned to off-white walls and just a portion
of the whole? My search for you is knotted
in the kneading and punching down of bowls
brimming with bread, in the reverent rustlings
of pleated robes slipping over shoulders,
in the clinking of plastic thimbles dropped,
empty of water, into trays. Command
me, Mother, to wash clean these muddied eyes
and tongue, for I long to taste your unearthed
fruits made tart by darkened loam, to drink your
sea of honeyed milk. Permit me, I pray,
some grasp of your skirts’ hems, so I may walk
unburdened by this doubt—and forgive me
(oh God, forgive me) as I inch along
this cord dividing sacrilege and faith.