Mahalath: Drought

Mahalath: Drought
Elliott batTzedek

The dates were small and shriveled
the year I was born. Drought
everywhere, even the Egyptians
had no dates to trade.
This is why, they say,
my mother sang to me
in her honey voice
that my life would know only sweetness.

Oh, that she were here now!
When I must choose but cannot know
if he, so sweet, might be bitterness
soon and all the days to follow.

I was at birth so small, so weak,
the seer’s bones and herbs
said don’t name this one.
I lived, but learned to walk
following mother’s body
out from the camp.

If his honey kisses cradle me,
is this her voice
singing yes, yes
yes my darling
yes my little one
yes, habibti,
yes this
is where your path lies?

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