It seems like the only time I take time to write is in response to heartbreak and tragedy. My queue is filled with drafts over the last year and a half, but the only one I’ve really finished is a piece about Monday’s bombing at the Boston Marathon for Jewish Women’s Archive.
I started reaching on Monday. This is what I do in times of crisis; I reach. I reach for small acts of healing and care, for the tiny slivers of tenderness that tenuously hold together the places we crack when the weight of the world’s brokenness is unbearable.
I reach for the people I love; for connection and reassurance and care; an emotional and corporeal human counterpoint to the dehumanization and isolation of violence.
And I reach for words. I reach for poetry that draws out my breath when it is caught in my lungs; poetry that surprises my heart into movement, expansiveness when it is heavy and turns in upon itself; poetry that feeds the pit of empty in my stomach so that it rumbles again for fire and food.
I sat on the couch in my JP apartment, watching the news until I couldn’t bear to hear the newscasters fill time and air without offering meaning, and I reached for Adrienne Rich.
I opened to the titular poem, “Tonight No Poetry Will Serve.” It was that kind of night, when the act of making meaning from violence felt both critically necessary and wholly impossible. I try not to dwell in the unanswerable questions: why now, why this, why so close, why us? Because there’s never a good reason, because the questions don’t serve me, and because I wouldn’t have preferred that it be somewhere else or someone else (it already is someone else, somewhere else, every day).
What I’m reaching for is a place to plant my feet, something to lean into, so as to orient myself toward a world filled with those unanswerable questions.
You can read the rest of it at JWA’s blog, Jewesses With Attitude.