A narrow place

* mizraim: the Hebrew word for the land of Egypt. In the Passover story, the term is used to describe the constraints and boundaries of the enslavement of the Jewish people.


Cold, shivering bones at 18, a narrow splinter of a person

I wondered how far I could take this campaign against my flesh.


I made friends on the basis of this skeleton,

friends who wanted for me this existence

this always, enduring mizraim*; a narrow place.


Shunning riches of sweet and savory,

I fell into and against the narrow,

clawing at the walls, the boundaries of the place.



“This is nourishment,” I am told;

to meet hunger with open hands, a heaping portion

of self-love and accept myself, broken,

full and hurting in all the wrong places.



Fist to palm, palm to hand outstretched; this I grant myself, reluctantly

finding in the depths a seed, I am pulled from the narrow, and draw myself from its folds.


This place has become too slender, and I am at once saturated with its reality,

so trading, helping for helping, what has been for what will be: a continued push outward and upward.