Man With Pitcher
I think all days have been the same—
dry days of bread, of shuffling
to synagogue, and back to empty rooms.
Today, a moth
flitted around my ear, settled
on my shoulder: Make ready.
From nowhere, from the dusty air, a purpose
moves my feet to some new thing, to open doors
stuck tight with grit of all that I’ve shut out.
Light shimmers through the air, caught
on cobwebs, floating motes, as if these years, time
has gathered here to wait
for the opening of this door, to remind me:
I am only an old man with empty rooms.
A vision of it once—swept clean,
and lit with laughter, with the clink of cups,
of faces raised—who will fill these rooms?
Again it comes: Make ready.
This, the only thought I follow, hands first, feet
dragging behind, flagging down
the dust, waving my arms to God—
I’m still here! and Who will fill these rooms?
And on my knees, scrubbing stone
to bone—her bones
laid bare by now—to be that shroud,
forever threaded to her body! I cast myself
along the floor, cast water—pitcher
after pitcher—making ready
for I know not what, but all my joints
in motion, in a hope I had forgotten:
Lord, fill my rooms.