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Kol Nidre

As to the deep ineradicable flaws

in the workmanship

anger and envy

anger and envy

stemming from over-enthusiasm

that rises like a water lily from mud

and the stone

of self, of ego

that insists on its imperial monologue

that strangles its audience

I would like to repent but I cannot

I am ridden like a horse


What does the contriver have in


the contrivance wants to know

because otherwise what is the point

of all this moaning

pretending to be sorry for everything

groveling like a chained-up snake

crawling over a stone book

in the rain of words

for which someone is responsible

at times the food devours the eater

the pot wishes to speak to the potter

the clay chooses the hands


We are not competent to make our


we are truly sorry

we pull you down from a cloud

or bend our knees to you like dogs

death breathing invisibly next to us

in the subway

in the office in the kitchen on the

park bench

we promise to love only you

faithful, faithful, we promise

we lie, we are not competent

still we implore you

please look at us and take us in your


not like a master, like a mother

By Alicia Osriker