Divine Hammer

I had a crazy dream last night.  I was substitute teaching in a yeshiva somewhere.  I woke up with images and details still intact, and decided to start writing.

As I wrote, I could remember all of the things that happened yesterday.  People and things I saw, conversations I had, that had turned into each image in the dream.

I am amazed at how the mind works, and how it can take such ordinary things as people I passed by in the grocery store, brief telephone conversations, fleeting thoughts, and turn them into a feature film for my amusement (or education?) as I sleep.

Divine Hammer

The man I thought to be the lead rabbi,
his arms clasped behind his back, his
face shadowed by his wide-rimmed hat, paced
back and forth and up and down,
speaking a lesson.
I sat cross-legged on the floor at the front of the gym,
next to a man in a crisp white shirt, blue Dockers and brown loafers.

He whispered some words near my ear.
A sentence I can’t remember,
but I hoped that they couldn’t hear him,
the children in the room
huddled together in groups of five or six.
Scattered throughout the large gymnasium
working on a project, a problem,
long black skirts, black pants, white cotton shirts, and so many blue eyes.

Through the large window covered with grating
I could see the cloudy day
on the corner, where five streets come together
in a small city.
There were no trees on the lawn.
A very high chain link fence
surrounded the building.

This was all so sudden.
I didn’t know I would be here until I found myself here.
I wanted to text you to let you know
that I would be late,
but every phone I grabbed was someone else’s.
And I didn’t know how to use them. And the keyboards were incomplete.
I couldn’t find all of the letters.
And where was the button to make a call?
One after another
I could not figure them out
and even if I did
I knew that you wouldn’t know it was me calling
and you wouldn’t answer.
Rifling through someone else’s purse in search of another phone,
looking over my shoulder at small circles of children,
thinking that something must be done,
must be done,
wondering if perhaps I should just leave, get out of there….

I stirred. Awake?
And then my daughter was there.
Smiling. She handed me something.
She told me it was an End-of-Life sandwich.
The bread smelled amazing,
a bakery roll, soft and fresh and full of grains.
I don’t know what was inside.
It was closed up and I couldn’t see
but I thought I saw the hint of a green leaf.
I wish I had the chance to take a bite.
It felt so good in my hands.

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