Oh if I could tether you
To me like the moon in orbit
If my gravity could draw you
Into a never-ending dance
Intoxicating and inexorable
Constant as galaxies
If our love had the lifespan of a star
Its radiance could blaze on
And once it had flickered out
A distant planet would still see its glow
Distant lovers would still meet under its light
Thousands of years after we had passed
We read to know we’re not alone.
I write to feel that I am known.
I wrote God’s name on my arm
In permanent ink, tattooed beneath my skin
But it’s only as permanent as this body
Which is dying day by day
So the commitment is not so long
The permanency doesn’t concern me really
Since God wrote my name on his palms
And his body is much more permanent
Telling me not to write
Is like telling the bird not to fly.
You’ll have to break my wings first.
Do not call me Naomi.
I am no longer pleasant.
I’m Mara, I’m bitter, I’m empty.
I was filled, but I’ve been hollowed out.
I’ve lost the sweetness of the rose.
I’ve lost the flavor of food.
I’ve lost my love and my legacy.
I’ve lost my faith and my trust.
Do not call me by my old name-
The name that, when on his lips,
Meant promise and future and passion.
It is a bitter reminder of who I was,
Who he was,
Who we were.
Naomi died with Elimelek, Mahlon, and Kilion.
Call me bitter. Call me Mara.
Hope unfolds like a flower
Slowly, slowly, then all at once
Bursting into full bloom
She looms over a cauldron, steaming
Tosses into the pot o’er a fire, gleaming,
A handful of aromatic herbs
With a cackle that frightens and disturbs
The fire glints in her yellowed eyes
Her coin pouch jingles against her thighs
But instead of potent witch’s brew
Her pot is filled with common stew