I want to juice the sun
Sip its light like glowing milk that pours from the sky
Into my mouth and through the part of my mind that once remembered
How to see the other side.
It may not be kosher to swallow the sun along with my steak
But I am not the kind of Jew who cares.
Because what if the sun tastes rich and red
And warms me as it slides inside?
What if I scatter my thoughts in the grass and on the street
When I breathe the sun back out
Knowing that the part I need most
Will stay in my mouth and my mind
Until I am ready to let it go?
A milky sun will only come when the sky can hold it.
It cannot wait for me to digest my steak.
When the time is right, I could send my deepest light
To its home in the center of the sun
And someone there could breathe it in
And blow it back to me.
We could play catch with the brightest sparks of the sun
Cooling them with drops of our own desires
Sprinkling the dirt with glowing images that have traveled between us
Until someone new finds them and drinks them down
And keeps them inside till the right time comes.
Perhaps it has happened already.
Perhaps, at 3 a.m. on Yom Kippur
I juiced the sun
Or would have, if I had been more brave.
It was a point of light
It jolted me awake
And it was Nana, my father’s mother, who’d died seven years before.
In a sharp, clear drop of time
But then the words began to form and ask their questions.
I might have expected my mother’s parents
Who’d stand outside their apartment, waiting
As soon as they knew I was on my way
Waving and smiling as if the Messiah had come
And not some strange child who pretended the rug was made of people
Even after she finished college.
Nana was more of a mystery, despite her 96 years in this world.
She knew I wasn’t the Messiah, and she didn’t speak as much.
But if that light was anything other than a glitch in my brain
It was her.
It just was.
I felt a calm terror.
I knew this presence was good.
If I’d welcomed her, drunk her in like I sensed she could with me
I might have had my answer.
Instead, my mind throbbed:
No, no, no.
Not in words: the part of me that thought like that had frozen.
But I lobbed her light back
It never mixed with my own
And she left, not angry.
It was Yom Kippur, day of atonement and of cleansing
And that meant something:
A freshness, a beginning, a message that said
You know something now that you didn’t know before
Even if you think you failed.
What if you could look through a telescope and see the world inside out?
All the empty spaces between the facts we can know and the places we can touch
Would quiver into vision
And once you saw
You could never forget.
Would you look?
Or would it be enough just to know
That the telescope exists?
In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.
That’s from the Gospel of John, but I am the kind of Jew who seeks far beyond my world
Until I get scared.
I have always loved that line.
I have always loved words.
But I think the Light comes before the Word.
What comes first: the Light, or the imagination that dreams it into being?
And is imagination false
Or the only glimpse we have
Of the truth we’re afraid to see?