After the shooting,
we waited like expectant parents
for your first breath.

Unconscious of our presence,
you drifted in a galaxy
light years away,
tethered to your life support
of tubes and hose,
your head thrown back
in deep repose.

You were a baby
clinging to the respirator
as if it were your mother’s breast,
You were a restless dreamer
clawing at your wound.
You were a brawler in the park
grappling for the gun.

Hour by hour,
day by day,
your life was dripping
slowly away
like the fluid in your IV.

And then a wind, a spirit,
a Ruach with the scent
of crushed magnolias
crept into the room
and coaxed you back.
Like a weary cosmonaut
who had been away too long,
you managed a wan smile.

When you took your first
tentative breaths,
this whole sweet world,
plants and animals and rocks,
was breathing in and out as well.

(originally published in Voices of Israel 2012 Anthology)



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