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Audio: Read by the author.


——————–—Longer than my forearm
———–—you curl, ridged keratin,
striated gray and bone,

——————–—how is it the only one
———–—who could make you blow
was not Jewish, friend

——————–—of my son, off-
———–—handedly trying while I
earnest in Elul

——————–—hear each year
———–—only the sound
of my frustrated breath?

——————–—The sound I imagine
———–—you make has to
hold me and wake

——————–—me to its own kind
———–—of internal return.
If I call you

——————–—beautiful in your
———–—severity, barely
polished, as raw

——————–—and unrefined as
———–—this new grief
inside me, how

——————–—much is your latent
———–—sound what I need?
Or is it today’s street

——————–—drills that woke me—
———–—my urban shofar—
juddering reminder of sidewalks

——————–—being replaced that for
———–—fourteen years marked
the spot where I stepped

——————–—from my doorway
———–—with my small dog,
my morning davener,

——————–—who led me parkward
———–—to touch a tree and
brought the Modeh Ani

——————–—from me, followed by
———–—the Sh’ma: Hear. O…
I have always felt

——————–—more than my need
———–—for waking up, teruah
blast of the shofar

——————–—wakes up God:
———–—that both partners
in the t’shuvah dance of return—

——————–—God and myself—prodded,
———–—have to face one another:
bow and start encircling

———–—each other again.




Sharon Dolin is the author of six books of poetry, a prose memoir, and two books of translation. A 2021 NEA recipient, her seventh book, Imperfect Present (Pittsburgh), is forthcoming.


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