Mizmor L'David Anthology 

 


Poetica Magazine, Contemporary Jewish Writing


MELISA (MISHA) CAHNMANN-TAYLOR, Professor of Language and Literacy Education at the University of Georgia, is the author of Imperfect Tense (poems), and four scholarly books in education. Winner of NEA Big Read Grants, the Beckman award, and a Fulbright in Oaxaca Mexico, she blogs at http://teachersactup.com.

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Sanctuary, Pora's Rap
Melisa (Misha) Cahnmann-Taylor

....Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
-- Emma Lazurus, "New Colossus"


Lazarus, you knew
the influx was us
and with a mild child's eyes
you saw a harbor of trust.
        Look at us!
How torched by words' light
we scorched so high,
we kite fly
then collide,
a group impossibly wide:
some with tallit,
or those who eat
meat with cheese,
some prepare tahini, then ask
for mapit, please,
bivakasha. We sing
sprinkled like dust
in synagogue seats
we pray; in likeness we trust.
In a new frame we gain
a reputation for "same"
but this space remains
grain for community
gain. See, we're not
all the same giants
of Hollywood fame,
or academic nebbishes
of Maccabbean acclaim.
Some step one foot in
then one foot out,
hokey pokey okey dokee
spouting Yiddishkeit clout.
Chabbadniks, renewal shticks,
some enslaved to our doubt,
we survivors from Masada
who check in or check out.
Don't pout, we're in a pickle,
takin' flavor like brine:
Chinese dumplings
sweet tea, & friday brachas with wine.

How divine to access
all that is globally best
then Friday dusk lights
candles like beacons of bliss.
This is it: we People of the Book
from Dead Sea Scrolls,
we discover and hunker
braiding challah dough rolls.
We choose to shmooze,
to keep paying our dues
building and repairing
broken glass into refuge.