This time, I need the words of a prayer.
I need some kind of purification,
to become a nun, wedded
to the god of my imagination or to
go back to childhood, for another chance
to show my pain instead of standing stoic
as a soldier by the urn of my father’s ashes
This time I’ll fall to my knees, tears
streaming down my face,
my body heaving with grief
This time, I’ll beg God for guidance
though in my faith we are not born again,
and the only hell we fear is here on earth
This time, I need the words of a prayer, the
hand of God, my mother’s voice singing
the only Yiddish lullaby she knew by heart
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Gina Sangster is a member of All Souls Church, Unitarian in Washington, D.C. Her parents were among the founding members of the Davies Memorial Unitarian Church in Camp Springs, Maryland.
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The first time, I emerged merely breathless, wet, and cold.
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