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Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur

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In the autumn garden,
I chop away dead yucca spires,
their white bell blossoms distant
in memory. My fingers comb ivy
and vinca for fallen leaves that crumble
in my hands. I think of crimes
against my loved ones, count my sins,
pull at spider webs and chickweed,
stubborn at the root.

I make my piles, gather the detritus
of trees into bags set against the curb.
I sweep the sidewalk, edge a trowel’s
blade beneath a hardy clutch of clover.
Even in drought, the barely living cling
like runners on a fencepost, adamant.
My roses, staked and tied to the wire mesh,
wilt on the stalk, feebly pink. Still,
honeysuckle persists, fragrant, wild,
and berries will ripen in the winter to come.

Pia Taavila, Ph.D. is a Professor of English at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC and a member of Beth Sholom Temple in Fredericksburg, VA.
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Pia Taavila Fredericksburg, VA September 21, 2010

Joy, I appreciate your kind words. May you and yours have a sweet year ahead! Reply

Joy Gaines-Friedler Detroit, MI September 18, 2010

"Even in drought, the barely living cling..." what a fabulous line. Thank you Pia Reply