“Alas, for with better thoughts I would have been able to create holy angels”
from Tefilla Zaka, by Rabbi Avraham Danzig,
traditionally said before Kol Nidrei
Seems juvenile, I know, to lay between minds and metaphysics
such open borders, egotistical too, as if to think is just the same
as to cup a sparrow, and whoosh—open palm—watch it forget you.
But what can I do? My clumsy thoughts suffer
from a stubborn will.
Just don’t ask me, I tell them, which of you are best suited.
You will have to see after your own holiness,
or ask the angel
when he is ready—he?
Who can tell among all these feathers, prolific as popcorn,
hiccuping into existence. Really, you have never felt such wings!
Heavy as a drunken fur coat. Here, you could sink a whole hand
and find coins, the skin of a desert snake, a deflated balloon,
two feathers of a different color (angels must have their fun, too),
some folded hopes to be delivered later, a few crumpled tissues.
But that has nothing to do with my mind—
No, that is just my angel.
Tikva Hecht is a teaching-artist and a member of the marketing team at Aleph Beta. In addition to the Jewish Literary Journal, her writing can be found in CV2, Canadian Literature, Ghost Town, and The Broken Plate, among other publications. She has an MFA in creative writing from University California, Riverside, an MA in philosophy from the New School for Social Research, and a BA in Judaic studies from Yeshiva University. One of her great joys in life is teaching creative writing, and she has run workshops for all ages in formal and informal settings.