Louder in the Silence: a poem

Louder in the Silence

Ancient Rabbis believed the Bible
was written in black fire and white fire.

Black fire came from words
on the page; God would flow
through ink and speech
to reach His people.
I regarded the gift of tongues
as the highest blessing God
could bestow; the ability
to speak the right words
at the right time. And when
my father passed, I shared a story
of when he bought me a harp
so that I could play it for God.

I shared how our family went poor,
how Dad sold his mattress,
our mountain bikes, but he never
asked me for my harp. My words,
rehearsed, I felt God in the black
fire of my story. I drew tears,
smiles. And yet.

When my brother rose to the stand,
staring at us from the pew, he broke.
He stood there, shaking, eyes looking
out at every person in the church. Though
he tried to open his mouth to speak, instead,
he let out an ugly cry, his hand shut
over his mouth, muffling the hiccups.
He closed his eyes. Not one word
left him, but in that moment,
we all were ruptured by the silence.

The Rabbis said white fire
was the space in between words
on the page, around the words,
and between the letters.
They believed God moved through
the words that were never written,
never spoken, never told.

 

 

 

 

 

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