They begin in sweet­ness and end in hunger

in the twi­light between one year and another.

Our tra­di­tion always begins with the evening,

the sev­enth day, the expul­sion from Eden.

May you be inscribed in the Book of Life,

for who knows what may come with the morning.

Kol Nidrei

Per­haps it’s most fit­ting played by Du Pré, her force

like an elec­tric light spark­ing out. She who too

would come to know lack of choice,

as I do, as I recall strings like knives

slic­ing lines on my fin­ger­tips, otherwise

blue-tinged and numb, stiff as I tried

to learn the gui­tar; I with my lin­ger­ing tremor,

who once lacked strength to sit upright,

cradling a cel­lo, to sus­pend a bow in the air;

I who still fail to fast lest my blood sug­ar fall,

lived in ter­ror of plans and of promis­es, know­ing all

vows may be bro­ken when the body falls ill. 

This piece is a part of the Berru Poet­ry Series, which sup­ports Jew­ish poet­ry and poets on PB Dai­ly. JBC also awards the Berru Poet­ry Award in mem­o­ry of Ruth and Bernie Wein­flash as a part of the Nation­al Jew­ish Book Awards. Click here to see the 2019 win­ner of the prize. If you’re inter­est­ed in par­tic­i­pat­ing in the series, please check out the guide­lines here.

Maia Evrona is a poet, prose writer and trans­la­tor of Yid­dish lit­er­a­ture. She has received fel­low­ships from the Ful­bright Schol­ar Pro­gram and the Nation­al Endow­ment for the Arts.