Mother Emanuel

Mother Emanuel-EmanuelAMEdrawing

June 24.15

Mother Emanuel
If I were standing there with you
In the physical sense
I wouldn’t speak a word
I would sit in the dirt
I would cry in that inside silent way
Before tears.

I would leave the spigot onto tears
Open —

I would sit there and make the holiest prayer of the heart.
I would offer it up.

I would not speak to a single news person
I would wear a big Bucharan kipah* on my head
Indicating humility in the presence of G*d
And respect respect respect.
I would wrap myself in an oversize talit with the proper fringes.**
I would clutch the fringes to my heart-line.

I would repeat the name of your beautiful church
Like a mantra of grief for the lives lost there
And the lives found there:

Emanu-El
Emanu-El
G*d is among us
G*d is among us —

I would say it and say it
Until I believed it
Until I felt it,

Then I would say it to the persons
Sitting next to me
On the right side
On the left side
Just that one complex word
(Sometimes two):

Emanu-El
I would say it until I felt it the way
Isaiah used it
With confidence and trust —

Emanu-El.
Emanu-El.

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*Jewish headdress, colorful, large
**prayer shawl