Guest Writer: Yoni Hammer-Kossoy

A Shavuot prayer-poem by my kehilla friend Yoni Hammer-Kossoy. His poetry recently appeared or is forthcoming in Forage Poetry, Dime Show Review, the Sunlight Press and the American Journal of Poetry. Yoni is a featured contributor to Songs of Eretz Poetry. Born and raised in the US, he’s lived in Israel with his family for the last 20 years.

Standing at Sinai
We are standing at Sinai and the Torah is given in a heartbeat,
standing and the Torah is still being given

unfolding across time and generations.
We are standing and the others are in shadow,

those who came before and those who will someday come after,
but we feel them as a tree’s deepest roots

seek hidden pools of water,
as a tree feels in every bud the flower and fruit that must follow.

We feel them standing with us in every echo of their names
feel them say amen to what is, has been, and will be.

We feel them standing in every silent question and answer
posed and offered in family pictures

just as some future version of you or me
will feel you standing and hear your echo.

We are standing because that is the gift we are given,
and is the gift we have to give. We are standing at Sinai,

standing in the desert cold
and the heavens fill with sun like a breath overflowing and true,

the kind of breath you take to sing or shout or run for joy
because you can. We are standing in the lush summer heat,

nothing more or less than a regular morning
when a crow calls light, light, light

and the world keeps spinning.
We are standing, we are standing.

© 2018 Yoni Hammer-Kossoy. All rights reserved.

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Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Source: Shalom Hammer-Kossoy

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