Shoshana Meira Friedman 


To Not Look Away

How much do you love this world?
Wet orange contours of a bush in autumn
Landscapes carved by vast rivers
Moose tracks and the Monet on the museum wall
Playgrounds screaming with tiny life?
How much can you bear to love this world
As through the grasping fingers of your heart
She tumbles toward chaos
As before the miraculous working of your own body
She lays down and bleeds?

I used to believe I would die to save her if given the chance
Such were my delusions of grandeur 
Such was my naiveté that a small sacrifice would suffice
To quell Mollech's hunger
Now one thing has changed - I have you and I am not willing to die
Now one thing has changed - I know even my very life cannot save.

Our mother cries and we cannot run to her
We run to her but we cannot touch her
We touch her but we cannot soothe her
We soothe her but we cannot save her.
There is no safe word on this death slide
Mollech knows not of conscious loving consent
He takes his spoils and licks his chops
From just a moment of flirtation.
This is Rome before the fall
This is Easter Island at the edge of drought
This is the return of Tiamat, great sea goddess
Taking back what we owe her
Taking so many others back as collateral
Interest on the deal.

What does hope taste like now but
The salt of my own grief rising
What does hope sound like now but
The songs of a people doomed but singing
What does hope equate to now but
that we were an immune system that tried and failed
And not one that failed to try
That before the deluge we were here and fighting
Implicated but fighting
Flawed and with a system rigged against us
but fighting.


Rabbi Shoshana Meira Friedman teaches at JCDS, Boston's Jewish Community Day School, and is Rabbi-in-Residence at Congregation Shirat Hayam in Swampscott, MA. She is a graduate of Oberlin College and Hebrew College Rabbinical School, and is also a medical clown, singer-songwriter, and climate activist.