Postcards for the High Holy Days: Prayer for Words

Sunday, September 13, 2015 - 11:48 am

Postcards for the High Holy Days: Prayer for Words

For many years now, Matthew Septimus and I have worked together for the Jewish Holidays combining his photographs and my poems. We met in the early nineties, when we were both teaching at Parsons School of Design in New York. Talented designer Asya Palatova helps us turn our work together into postcards that become visual prayers. Our prayers are often about hope.

Last June, Ahava Dolpha-Odabashian arrived. She is our first grandchild. Although every single one of us is somehow born without exception, it’s still very hard to entirely grasp how something so utterly ordinary can be equally miraculous and profound. Watching life unfold, all life, is like watching love.

AHAVA
dear gods, all of them
ungods too
Ahava alive now
we know that all lives
bring us love
every one of us
who reads this poem
we know that all lives
yours and mine
we know that all lives
bring us love

So many of us love words, simple words, yellow words, words that sound like music. Having the chance to write them down is a special kind of praying.

Prayer for Words
When I think of words
I am one of those people
words all over
pieces of paper
I lose those papers
writing words trying to remember
small woman in the supermarket she told me
her eggplant was the spitting image
of Richard Nixon this is my life,
although it goes by so quickly
especially summers when days
more beautiful than beautiful
begin and end before I can write
them down when I try to tell you
about the world
and my sitting
on the porch I am writing a few things down
what I want to tell you
is how life, small wonderful
bright yellow life how life
can happen if you watch and if you try
to write it down

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is a novelist and poet living in New York City. She’s the author of several books, including Book Doctor. Read more of her writing on her blog I Am and I Am Not.

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