Every seventh year you shall practice remission of debts.
How simple it ought to be, to practice compassion
on someone gone, even love him, long as he’s not
right there in front of me, for I turned to address him,
as I do, and saw that no one’s lived in that spot
for quite some time. O turner-away of prayer—
not much of a God, but he was never meant to be.
For the seventh time I light him a candle; an entire
evening and morning it burns; not a light to see
by, more a reminder of light, a remainder, in a glass
with a prayer on the label and a bar code from the store.
How can he go on? He can’t. Then let him pass
away; he gave what light he could. What more
will I claim, what debt of grace he doesn’t owe?
If I forgive him, he is free to go.
Re’eh, Deuteronomy 11:16–16:17
First evening prayer
It is possible
even in the darkness—
no, it is
that is when your messenger
comes to me,
who has walked unappearing beside me
like starlight in the day,
angel that lives in the dust
of the earth, and knows
the distance of time, and the terrible
space between one human
that can hardly be crossed—
in the dark the messenger
your eyes up—
what I am dreaming I am seeing,
it is coming to be—
and climbs a coil, a rope,
a spinning ladder
that is the way
in the night,
a place of God I didn’t know,
here at the foot of it,
the root of the tree,
not for me to ascend
but to pray to you in the dark,
that you have brought down
the infinite to me
when my head lay on a stone,
one earth wheeling
among the millions of your stars.
Vayetze, Genesis 28:10–32:3