Honi Makes it Rain**, Sleeps for Seventy Years, Keeps no Secrets
She announces to him that she wishes to marry
and I lean over to share that I’m not keeping secrets when I don’t confess similarly
I am just here, alone,
requesting to have half this enormous appetizer packed up for another meal.
In advance of our meeting I thought exclusively in details—
gym socks creeping up furred calves
bruised over shaving cuts—
but we created nothing when he didn’t call
and the memories I have already formed
are pre-symbolic splashes of red stretched richly to the edges of canvas.
I have married a rectangle and an ellipse with a technique I had thought only a dreadlocked, tattooed midwife from the Pacific Northwest used in the manipulation of a cervix.
Massage with oil and patience and nothing will tear, she swore
speaking certainly of the mother.
The child, howling at the end of the canal,
will know Rothko long before even that first encounter with art.
You are a dreamer, Honi,
but close the ring
and the hope of a return home dissolves into the dust through which you have
your walking stick.
Make it rain with an acceptable form magic,
unlike the methods of the coven Simeon slaughtered,
but know that to draw abundance for the masses in which they can dance
and then request it cease when the river floods
while you drift into one continuous dream
is to enter a state of I from which no one—
not even a direct descendant—
can retrieve you.
Don’t do it
One day I will offer my own desire on the altar
and if no fire descends I will have sacrificed myself
and my head will hang.
My landlord has neglected to update the list of tenants alongside the buzzer,
but it does not make me a child.
Peer into my window to know this is mine.
There are no shades.
This building swarms with attractive men
but no women, not even me
know how to talk or even touch our hair.
To my side are hair scarves, safety pins
relics stored in a bin of plastic so sturdy it will resist time
Tradition is the post apocalyptic cockroach.
Let mankind eat together on glass plates that will never drift beyond the buoy
or sink below the surface
But where to store the meaning,
with no lexicon
in the debate of academics,
in this preverbal child’s pleading
I only know how to hum.
I am one of many seekers
A song loops without end.
Must I be certain of the notes before parting my lips
or can I risk it in a chorus this large?
Leonard Cohen omitted the final verse—
how to set a wail to melody he could only have learned at this tisch,
this table of scotch and rabbis’ tales.
It takes a Peruvian woman to hold this pulpit, to sing one beat off
and permit us to feel
other than righteous
Her headband is multicolored
When her child cries she calms with just a gaze.
She knows how to hold my space
even without cropped hair or a tattoo of a snake encircling her wrist.
I thought I would escape this, I even planned a route.
But where the hell am I?
Street signs should be huge, obtrusive banners streamed across the sky
with rhinestone letters and neon lights.
The night is dark and people need to know where they stand.
They say that one can’t be better than trauma, especially not while keeping secrets.
What do you want to know?
I am in search of another.
There is only one man
with myriad incarnations
laughing at the spirit world
You might meet a version of yourself who believes.
This sting of living accompanies me always
even when I say it aloud.
**Taanit 3:8 (Babylonian Talmud)
Ayala Danzig is a medical student at the University of Rochester who has been reading and writing poetry religiously since falling in love the work of Sharon Olds and C.K. Williams in her early adolescence. Ayala has been a finalist in Concordia University’s Summer Literary Seminars and has been the recipient of numerous scholarships for literary programs around the world. She recently received an honorable mention in the William Carlos Williams annual poetry competition. A native of New York City she has had the privilege of being mentored by a number of exceptional poets including Hermine Meinhard and Hillery Stone and has been a regular participant in poetry and fiction workshops. She has work forthcoming in “The Casserole and Foothill: a journal of poetry.”