Leila Bilick
Shevirat Hakelim

Etta James sings her shattered
heart from the speaker
in the room where we seek
each other, reach for each other’s
atomized light.

She’d rather be blind
in the face of all that is fractured.

I want to tell you a story
about the divine face,
how it burst and millions of fireflies
rained down onto this
unholy earth.

I want to tell you about the breakage
I’ve caused, vessel thrown down,
a willful scattering, primordial injury.

Reach for me
anyway.

I refuse to make promises
of the false prophet.
Impossibility of tikkun,
the gathering and lifting up
of scattered sparks.
I can’t return us to the source.
I am not a vessel
for even my own mythology.

I promise you this, nothing more:
I won’t beg for blindness.

In the pinpricked and shifting light
I will show you shard
by shard
my divine face
with my eyes emptied out
and turn to yours unafraid of the ways
you too broke before I knew you.



Leila Bilick‘s work has appeared in The Coachella Review and Soundings East. She has a Master’s in English from UMass Boston, and currently lives in Los Angeles with her two daughters.