Rachel Kann

In Service to The Queen

This life is
a shaky construction,
made of
brief punctuations
of sweetness in an
endless run-on sentence
of ache.

There is no guarantee
that the journey
will be worth the grief
in the final summary.

There is only
the knowing
that no matter your struggle,
there are hundreds
of someones
who would give it all up
just to trade their trouble
for yours,

that no matter how sturdy
the foundation,
every castle crumbles
to dust
in the end,

that no matter how dynastic
the blood,
we are all made
into beggars

knocked to our knees
in the face of
awe almighty,

that we have no ultimate control;
that no matter the planning
and precautions taken,
unspeakable terror awaits us.

There is only
the longing,
the ghost-trace
of the taste
of honey
on our remembering

the way we pray
like so many ladies-in-waiting
for its sugared return,
the unending buzz-hope of
our homeless bumble-dance
from jasmine blossom
to lavender bud.

This hunger
is what is meant
to keep
our hearts beating

until our sentence is complete,
all our time served,
until we are liberated from this
having sacrificed everything
in service to the queen.




Rachel Kann’s latest poetry collection is How to Bless the New Moon, from Ben Yehuda Press. She is a poet, performer, ceremonialist and teaching artist. She’s a 2019 WORD: Bruce Geller Memorial Prize recipient. Her poetry collections include A Prayer on Behalf of the Broken Heart and 10 for Everything. She is the author of the children’s book, You Sparkle Inside. 

Her writing appears in journals such as Soul-Lit, Tiferet, Eclipse, Permafrost, Coe Review, Sou’wester, GW Review and Quiddity. She's a resident writer for Hevria, where she’s also featured as a performing artist on The Hevria Sessions

She’s performed her poetry in venues such as Disney Concert Hall, Royce Hall, The Broad Stage and The San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts. 

She is a 2019 Inquiry Fellow through American Jewish University’s Institute for Jewish Creativity and was a 2017 Asylum Arts Reciprocity Fellow and the 2017 Outstanding Instructor of the Year at UCLA Extension Writers' Program. 

Her Spoken Word Visual Album, The Quickening, has received accolades from film festivals in Florence, Tel Aviv, Los Angeles and New York. 

She leads Realize Paradise Shabbat Soul Journeys and New Moon Union Rosh Chodesh Circles and is initiated as Tzovah through Kohenet: The Hebrew Priestess Training Program.