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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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