Blue Vitriol

for Rabbi Manny Viñas
“I am hereby writing this…for the sake of proclaiming the sanctity of the Torah.”


Do not tell me it is written
I have no right of return. It is not.
Not with a virgule
Not by a virago
Not through a viremia
Is it written. It is written
Sometimes with a virgule
Often by a vav-of-reversal
Always through a mordant
Of gall and vitriol: oak apple, flower
Of copper, lamp black, acacia senegal.
You draw from a dampness that consumes
All, where black birch straddles the air
Over long gone nurse logs, where the sign
Of the Name is ever cycling decomposition
Generation to generation, where the new
Wasp leaves the marble pocked and round shelter
To drift on the wind. And you record with a turkey feather
The voice of the unspeakable Name eternal.

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