from The Book of Life
Alicia Suskin Ostriker
Integrity unobscured by death
Is what we hope for.
But to whom should we say
Inscribe me in the Book of Life?
To whom if not each other
To whom if not our damaged children
To whom if not our piteous ancestors
To whom if not the lovely ugly forms
We have created,
The forms we wish to coax
From the clay of nonexistence –
However persistent the voice
That rasps hopeless, that claims
Your fault, your fault –
As if outside the synagogue we stood
On holier ground in a perennial garden
Jews like ourselves have just begun to plant.