Barred from the black bars of Tefillin
From the prisoners’ stripes of the prayer shawl
I enslave myself with a mark of women
I mark myself with an awl
For I have loved, I have loved
I have loved my master
I shall be a handmaid eternal
These bonds shall not be severed
So take me to the lintel
The mezuzah in which are etched
The same words that adorn your gear
I too shall have
A covenant in flesh
A little hole in my ear
My earring, my earring
Joy of the slave
Loving and fearing
Not baubles to cast to a golden calf
But an emblem, a halo, a helix
Of the Lord’s household are we not half?
Were we not there when ye left Egypt?
Had Moses’ staff no distaff?
We danced there, you know
With our earrings and bangles
With our tambourines
There by the sea
And as we swayed, our jewelry jangled
The slave of the Lord alone is free
This poem was first-place winner of the Yedid Nefesh (Powered by Yavneh) anonymously judged poetry contest.