Anthony Baker

“Embrace is hinted at in the sukkah”
—Rabbi Meishulam Feibush

Arms wrapped around you can only ever partially protect.
Fingers come apart with enough force, 
breaking the embrace.
And anyway arms make circles not spheres—
fathers’ hugs can’t make hermetic seals.

Like a booth in wild places
woven of leaf and vine—
inbound flaps for doors and 
openings above for chimney holes
—so they too only ever partially protect 
from sun and snake.
It is enough to give place to a joyful meal with one’s kin,
not enough to let us forget
the silent search of jackal and vulture at hunt.

And so these makeshift arms of branch and rope become 
the gift of risk,
of all the porous booths that makes us real.

It’s cover just enough.
“When all I really wanted was to hold you here,
lock you in my grip, 
and keep the wild strangeness of it all from changing you
hurting you
taking you away from me,”
God said to them.

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