a place without rain
where whiteness stretches its long cracked fingers
above an ancient cave,
ivory rocks and ochre pebbles
the earth jewels that adorn.
Green veins on my hand spread,
startling like a dozen River Jordans,
while behind dark sunglasses
images move listless smoke
from the fires of wanderers.
Their tired horses have braided manes
and eyes darker than shadows.
I blink, and beckoning circles,
laughing voices that charm and cajole
disappear like silver earrings in pale sand.
Sweat drips on cool dirt
by pail, shovel and pick,
I dip my hand into fragments of clay and bone.
Israel, July 2016
I envy you,
unselfconscious earth dweller
free to wink at root vegetables
with those mysterious fertile eyes
the Leonardo DiCaprio of food
no introduction needed
whether wrapped in foil
or a wrinkled paper bag.
now that I have met you
lolling in giant clods of earth
or modestly half-hidden
from your curvy waist down
gowned in gravel
I like your presentation.
I get you
the way you stick your face right up into mine
as I glisten in the Israeli sun
not caring in the least how many eyes
or blisters or bruises or sagging skin
more than others I have carried in my pail
you are ugly and grotesque and beautiful
with all that you are
and all you are not
come along with me
and feed the hungry people.
I dare you
pulled from dirt
so round and so not-round
plain yet ornamented
with fingers and toe and ears
with nodes and knots and silly noses...
come feed the world.
(inspired by the vision of Rabbi Mark Cohen and Leket Israel)