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Sarah Marcus is the author of BACKCOUNTRY and Every Bird, To You. Her full-length poetry collection, They Were Bears, is forthcoming from Sundress Publications in 2017. Her other work can be found at NPR’s Prosody, The Huffington Post, McSweeney’sCimarron Review, and Spork, among others. She is an editor at Gazing Grain Press, a VIDA: Women in Literary Arts volunteer, and the Series Editor for As Is Ought To Be’s High School Poetry Series: Gender, Identity, & Race. Find her at www.sarahannmarcus.com.
Rosh Hashanah, 5774
By Sarah Marcus



The moon was a sliver of itself
the first night I thought of you
combing a new year’s honey 
through our hair.

We are taught to repent, but
it’s a poor translation, 
for Teshuvah is to return
to ourselves, 
to come back to who we really are,
to return 
to an original state

where we have nothing
but possibility laid before us.

And it is written
as everything will be:

someone’s grandmother’s hands 
smelling of cinnamon and clove,
a testament to a world
created as an expression
of limitless love,
of refinement.

The Rabbi says that when you share your words
you are sharing a part of your soul. Each moment 
has the potential to be deeply spiritual, my children,
stand in the hugeness of it all.

Autumn has lingered years
for your arrival, 
each leaf turned 
in anticipation,
even the branches 
held their breath

            waiting for us to ask the right questions,
            for us to stop looking to the sky.