all who feast the day before yom kippur
are considered to have fasted twice

i haven’t eaten in days and
maybe have forgotten how

there are 2 major fasts

one for the temple’s destruction, which was caused by people
speaking evil of each other

and one on yom kippur,
so we might have more time to pray

on yom kippur, g-d gives us relief
from our hunger
and gives our bodies the power
of a temple

for the anniversary of its destruction
we get bubkes,
same as g-d

all who fast for tisha b’av
are encouraged to fast
a little longer

for the Temple kept burning
late into the next day

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one year i started tisha b’av in a restaurant
interviewing writers over food
i wouldn’t have eaten any other day either

but the smells were more vivid
and their words spilled out
like sad beautiful poems

one year i spent tisha b’av flying
to australia, twenty-five hours
hanging between dates
in the air

i got accidentally upgraded,
my only time ever
and spent the whole time shifting in my seat
trying to avoid

when i landed, everyone was back
to worrying
about things like babysitters
and who was getting double inheritance

and the thought of existing
miles and miles above
a temple still not standing

— a private memory
as foreign to those mansions
as hunger —

unsteadied me
like a punch to the heart