Eve Grubin is the author of Morning Prayer, a book of poems published by the Sheep Meadow Press, and her poems and essays have appeared in many American and British literary journals. She teaches at New York University in London and the Poetry School, and she is the Poet in Residence at the London School of Jewish Studies.
The Great Oven Debate
Imagine an oven constructed from layers of clay,
sand placed between each layer.
Is the oven a whole vessel?
Or broken shards?
Rabbi Eliezer says: broken shards.
The heavenly voice declares he is right.
He is wrong say the sages: the Torah is not in Heaven.
How can Rabbi Eliezer be wrong and right?
Darling, when we argue perhaps I am right
Let’s not hold tight to one truth.
Let’s hold all of the truths in our arms at once.
A positive commandment:
bless after eating food only if satiated.
Even if we eat an olive’s worth, make a blessing after it.
Satiate me with our combined truths.
Let the clay coils be broken
Soften your truth with sand.
In the night’s blackest center,
rest against the contradictions swimming in our pillowcases
and dream the same dream,
a single blessing together at dawn:
the hour the moon stands in the sky with the sun.