A Prayer of Jerusalem for Yehuda Amichai

            Hope is a memory of the future.
                  —Gabriel Marcel

On full moon midnights I meet the dead
             poet at David’s Gate. His satchel

bulges with leather-skinned pomegranates
             bleeding juice. The tourists, there

to walk the ramparts, look past him
             to the tower. I am not a tourist.

How many? he asks. Hundreds, I say.
             He’s not asking shekels or children

or poems. He’s plumbing the wells
             of my devotion to the would-

be peace of this place—how often I’ve
             gulped ashes. On the Eve

of Fragile Huts, we wander Old City alleys,
             citron wafting from our palms.

We remember tomorrow, without thirty-
             centimeter bombs or a human chain

stretched from holy to profane. After Elijah
             sets his scalpel to the heart

of the city, hawks and doves feed
             from the same watering hole,

the streets brim bread and Jerusalem
             roses. It is the full moon of Nisan.

The poet wonders, Ma nishtana—what
             has changed this night?
We watch

the moon, gape at the swarming streets.
             Everything changes.





Pamela Wax is the author of Walking the Labyrinth (Main Street Rag, 2022) and Starter Mothers (Finishing Line Press, 2023). Her poems have been published in various literary journals, including Barrow Street, Tupelo Quarterly, Massachusetts Review, Chautauqua, and Nimrod, and have received a Best of the Net nomination and awards from Crosswinds, Paterson Literary Review, Poets’ Billow, Oberon, and the Robinson Jeffers Tor House. An ordained rabbi, she offers spirituality and poetry workshops online and around the country. She lives in the Northern Berkshires of Massachusetts.

Latest Issue

Issue 93

More In This Issue