and the shiny fence of teeth, the restless tongue,
the burnt palette, the five places of the mouth
where speech is born. They say the evil eye
will flee the five-fingered hand and that our world
was given five unsteady oceans. I have been
in three of them and water changes
color everywhere. In the five books he left us
Moses narrates only one, which leads me
back to speech, how even breathing has a sound
and sighing is a kind of prayer. By that I mean,
there are all sorts of ways to get God’s attention.
Look at the moon who reappears dressed up
in borrowed light so diffuse she can only return it.
And the ram, who gave its horn so that the angels
could say, this is how language begins in the belly,
where air is broken down, but not digested.
I am thinking of the lungs and how one side
sorts the blood and sends the rest back to the surface
where it feeds the trees. I am thinking of the trees,
which are the cure for us, the many exhalations
never seen, how the horn is not metal or wood but
what we call the body, twisted and bent, providing
certain passage. Even the guards of tongue and teeth
have to move aside when it’s time to send the last breath out.
Jane Medved is the author of Deep Calls To Deep (New Rivers Press 2017) and the chapbook Olam, Shana, Nefesh (Finishing Line Press, 2014) Recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Cortland Review, Mudlark, and The Tampa Review. Medved is the poetry editor of the on-line magazine The Ilanot Review and lives in Jerusalem.