First Night

Eight Angels Came to Me On Eight Nights
Each one told a story*

The first one asked questions

What kind of light?
What is Hanukkah? [BT, Shabbat 21b]
A miracle but which one? [Rashi]

Backwards we are telling the story
the prophet Elijah standing
on the street corner

unlit cigarette waving in his hand
from a dark thatch of beard
he asked for a match —

Fire, he said
as well as light
some specially created light

or fire –
We call Hanukkah
the festival of lights

Josephus did too — [Antiquities 12:7.6-7]
the kind of light
it burns.

jsg, usa