Before I Took Up This Journey

Before G‑d opens his fist
to let a soul gently descend into this world,
He whispers a name, an occupation, a future bride:
“So-and-so, the architect
will marry so-and-so, the teacher’s daughter.”
If I lie asleep in my bed—
wherein the sages say a man’s soul goes back,
and he is partly dead—
if you must rouse me,
please, my wife,
do not even place your small hand
on my shoulders,
but whisper my name,
remind me that I am such-and-such a man
and you are the dark-haired daughter of so-and-so,
chosen for me
before I took up this journey.

From G‑d’s Optimism by Yehoshua November