Ancestor Alphabet

Keyboard with letters in Hebrew and English

by Alicia Jo Rabins

I see the shape of the Alef and the shape of the Lamed
I see the shape of the final Tzadi and the shape of the Hay
I see the shape of your Nose and the shape of your Hands
Which are the same shape as your father’s Hands
We first kissed in a Bar after he gave me a small plastic Fish
Purchased in Chinatown now he is cleaning up the Kitchen
Listening to a Podcast I see the shape of the dead Tulips
Beginning to crumple upon themselves in the Vase
I hear a fake English Accent it’s a Comedy Podcast
I hear Anxiety beneath the listening I see petals turn Brown
I see Worms under the Earth I see many Leaves I see Toys and Books
A rumpled Couch a Bowl of Pink Salt with a Tiny Spoon
O Asherah keep us safe
I see Heaven I see Bed I see Mirror I see Porridge
I feel the Ancients watching us I watch you as you sleep


Alicia Jo Rabins
Alicia Jo Rabins is a writer, musician, composer, performer, and Torah teacher. Her work explores the intersection of ancient wisdom texts with everyday life. Divinity School, Rabins’ first book of poetry, won the 2015 American Poetry Review Honickman First Book Prize. Her second book of poetry, Fruit Geode, was a finalist for the Jewish Book Award. (Author photo by Jason Quigley.)


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