Ps. 139: To The One Who Knows

Alicia Jo Rabins is an award-winning writer, musician, performer and Torah teacher and the author of two poetry books, Divinity School (American Poetry Review) and Fruit Geode (Augury Books). Music/performance projects include Girls in Trouble, an indie-folk song cycle about women in Torah, and the forthcoming independent feature film, A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff.


To The One Who Knows

After Psalm 139

What is it to be known?

Known, all of me: the one hundred-

Thousand-mile map of my veins, 


Prayers I will whisper in a hospital

Room in twenty years, distant strip-mall 

Corners where my teenaged past-self hid 


Behind arborvitae to smoke on a hot day. 

The wedding canopy, the birthing 

Bed, ruby silences of my mother’s 


Womb: so high I could go, and so low, 

And always, You there to meet me.

What is it to be known? All 


My failings, blemishes, wounds. 

So many times I turned 

Away because I could not turn 


Towards. So many times threw

My whole self at those who wanted 

Only a sugary taste. So many times 


Succumbed to fear. But you know 

All that. You try me, test me, all 

So you can know me: such 


Love, my Love. I don’t believe 

In heaven, but there You are. Don’t

Believe in hell, but You are there.


What is it to be known?

The genetic engineer knows

Her rose's shape before


It blooms, the architect

Knows his skyscraper before

First concrete pours,


The showrunner knows

Her main character’s still-

Unwritten future; so You know


My imagination, my mitochondria, my

Liver, kidneys, fingernail trimmings,

Which words I always misspell,


Dreams I forget before awakening, lost

Eddies of Tuesdays afternoons, how I paint

Myself over the undulating graph paper


Of time. Too intimate to describe,

But let me try: I am vine, You the tree

I climb. I am tree, You the sky, light


And earth. I am sky, light, and earth,

You the solar system which holds

Us. I am solar system, You my


Infinite red edge. In knowing, 

We are known: I, an infinite red

Edge; You, the One writing these words.


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The opinions contained in this piece are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Interfaith Youth Core. Interfaith America encourages a wide range of views and strives to maintain a respectful tone with a goal of greater understanding and cooperation between people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions.