Old Jew at the Wall

Yesterday I saw an old Jew,
face pressed up
against the Western Wall,
kissing the hard, cold stone
as if she were his new bride

when in fact she stood there
as his aged wife,
wrinkled, bent, broken,
though still warmed
by his affection.

As his lips slowly traced
her face, descending down
from weary brow to
her once-graceful neck,
he longed for her,
remembering the strength
of the love
of the wife
of his youth.

In the weather beaten crevices
of her stretch-marked belly
he tucked love letters to her
believing that his words
would somehow
reach the dark, rich soil of
her empty womb
and grow,
fertilized by suffering,
and bring them a son,
perhaps the Messiah.

© 12/16/96, Lois E. Olena

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