Nocturnal Considerations

The millenary stones
of the Western Wall,
the smooth Holy Sepulcher,
the labyrinthine bazaar streets,
the haredim I crossed path with
are soon to become memories
but now,
three men are sunken in the Torah
right next to me as our bus breaks through the night’s curtain.

Tremulous sidelocks dance
as they search for divine answers.
A murmuration of ancient words;
their lips move undeciphered.
My lips are sealed but from my depth my senses grow tectacles.

Long skirts and sleeves,
foulards and wigs
darkened by rules and soberness
cover the women’s bodies.
They are free to walk outside, to work,
to give birth, to raise children.
Their men were born to study.

To them I don’t exist in flesh;
their eyes transcend me
yet, I am both here and somewhere else
tasting the sacred fruit of life up to Jerusalem’s kernel.

Mihaela Melnic, born in Romania, lives and writes in Rome, Italy. She is the author of the poetry collection Layers of Rust and Life (2023, Impspired Press), co-author of the poetry and short fiction book Evermore (2021, 17Numa Press). Her work has been published in various literary venues and anthologies. Links to her publications can be found at her website. Read other articles by Mihaela.