I feel bad for Sylvia Plath's Esther, trying
to read Finnegan's Wake in the middle
of a nervous breakdown. This morning, the sun
on the dining room table-- we have a table now--
and I notice that my local goat cheese looks like
an angel when I first spread it on my sprouted bread.
This is the problem with lyric poems and class rage.
If I weed the irises and have a dining room table, I
suspect myself. Everything must happen for a reason.
Isn't that what Voltaire's fool said? I will stop trying
to solve the equation of human suffering-- X people
stuck at airports plus X people killed in a gas attack
minus whatever our government is doing plus whatever
our government is doing ... Meanwhile I'm here in a room
managing my small son, who has sensory problems at
the classroom Shabbat. Too many people in one room
plus the singing plus the rabbi coming in and reading
a book equals E. turning to shove one ear to my chest,
then bursting into a different state, shouting out in the middle
of the Passover book, "Why didn't they free themselves!"
and hopping about the room. "Then Moses parted the sea,"
the rabbi says patiently. I gather up my child as the book
ends. I go home and try to weed, but he cries about
the "poor little weeds." Later he tells me he stops
loving me when I'm mad, but starts again later. I've
been so often mad during these months. I want to say
something about "let my people go," which tradition is
partly my son's-- enslaved ancestors-- but I also want
to say that in Adonis' Syria, being a poet earns you
the threat of death. Speaking and not speaking do
matter. For a week, I lost the Swiss Army knife
I carry with me everywhere, but yesterday
I found it among the spatulas.