In the second of three poems, Bruce Black reflects on Jewish prayer.
Under the folds of my prayer shawl that I drape over my head before beginning to pray, I greet my parents, my grandparents, my uncles and aunts, imagining each embracing me again, holding me in their arms. Under the folds of my prayer shawl I can feel my body pressing against theirs, and theirs against mine, can feel the warmth and love they gave to me before they left this world, and for a moment, just a moment, my world is full again, no longer empty or out of balance. Under the folds of my prayer shawl I thank each one for returning to help me pray, and hug each one as if they stand with me beneath my prayer shawl, and I feel their kisses and see their smiles one more time before I lift the folds of my prayer shawl off my head and begin to pray for their souls and my own.
Bruce Black is the author of Writing Yoga (Rodmell Press/Shambhala) and editorial director of The Jewish Writing Project. He received his BA from Columbia University and his MFA from Vermont College. His work has appeared in Elephant Journal, Blue Lyra Review, Tiferet Journal, Hevria, Poetica, Reform Judaism, The Jewish Literary Journal, Mindbodygreen, Yogi Times, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and elsewhere. He lives in Sarasota, FL.