For the sake of public health, the chazanim pare an hour from shacharis like they’re carving an ice sculpture. The machzor’s words rumble through me like the wheels of a coaltrain at night. On the first Rosh Hashanah, G-d chiseled a man out of rich, damp earth then scooped into his sleeping ribs to mold Chava. Two wingspans float between each chair. Our systems are newly paper thin. The Gemara notes that the shofar’s wailing resembles Sisera’s mother when he never returned. Had it not been the tent peg, would her sobs still be canon? All these people have been taken and our hands still inhale every surface–it’s the American dream. The shofar with its surgical mask is a tunnel opening into charcoal night. G-d himself breathed into Adam’s nostrils and his chest expanded towards heaven and he was fully grown, still younger than the purple-throated birds floating over him. What a time to pray as if we’re running through a wheatfield, out of breath and glancing behind to see if we’ve lost what’s following us.