Poetry & Blog

Preparing My Daughter For Battle (Neshama)

“Neshama”, Heaven is at the soles of your feet, in the arch of your back, in the ringing of bells, in every hallelujah, and each amen. 

Today you must face the darkness

there will be no stars

the sun along with the moon have grown weary

today is their 7th day 

you must rinse your skin with warm water 

marvel at the glow 

thank mother nature for the resemblance 

—-for that brown hue 

you must take your hands 

pour the honey onto your palm

feed the aches— the discomforts 

always with something sweet

always with love 

you must ask your mother to tell you of your strength —

i will remind you of how you came to be 

how you fought your way into this life 

how you gathered all the oceans in your throat, and all of the light in your eyes 

and all my love in your “neshama” 

you are the kind of beauty that leaves craters on the moon 

do not allow your body to be a civil war.

…you must ready yourself for battle 

your armor is emotion

your armor is worship 

your armor is tenderness

it’s affection, and passion, and delight

it’s your mother 

and it’s love 

do not wait for emptying hands 

do not wait for the ill advised wisdom from aunties and cousins 

do not let them minimize the cause 

and before you walk onto the battlefield 

remember this 

I prayed and you came 

you are the result of my “modeh ani” 

the result of my “minchah” 

and the result of my “sh’ma” 

They ask me where I find God these days, I say 

in you

in my “Neshama” 


*Neshama means soul in hebrew

*Modeh Ani is a morning prayer in Judaism

*Minchah is a midday prayer

*Sh’ma is a prayer I say before bed

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