kiviti: on yearning during the month of elul ani lidodi vi dodi li i am for my beloved and my beloved is for me when we long for God with every cell in our bodies craving the closeness of the yamim noraim approaching cold days in synagogues pounding our chests sweet honey and pomegranate at meals a never ending tune woven through the month i met a woman during elul who had an alarm on her phone ringing through the day every half hour it went off she said kiviti adonai linegdi tamid i yearn for god next to me always but it's an insufficient translation kiviti means not just yearn but that romantic bodily love desperate longing i want to be able to touch you every moment god, she said out loud unabashed eyes closed heart open we have so many words for longing in hebrew crave/yearn/ache/thirst - are wildy inadequate kayl taarog al afikey mayim as a deer yearns for water ken nafshi taarog elecha elokim so my soul longs for you god but it's so much more deers NEED water don't you see every day in prayer we murmur do not send us away empty handed raykam al tashivenu plz just a whisper of your voice behind us in the shul dust that would be enough - we plead dayenu would it though? i don't know if i want god next to me every moment i wouldn't want to drink then wear crop tops kiss ppl laugh rolling on the floor not that i think god doesn't want me to do those things just it's hard to be a body and a soul is it i yearn for god next to me, always or always, i yearn for god next to me does it matter? always / tamid
Rana Bickel (she/they) is a queer Jewish poet from Maryland residing in Chicago. She is a recent graduate of Barnard College where she was a member of the slam poetry team. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in Bourgeon Magazine, Thimble Literary Magazine, and the Jewish Literary Journal. She loves books, community, and rainstorms.