Jacob Steinberg

Pilgrimage (Southern Weft)

I never cared about Thanksgiving
until it was November in Argentina

And Buenos Aires
was but an expanse
of bus exhaust
and dense cab fleets
in which I consistently choked
but never managed to leave.

It was plazas and peddlers
and wild fantasies
Of being mugged in my doorway,
Slowly stripped of my adherence
to oh but so many beliefs.
Until enough days had passed.
And I had nothing left.

And as my days grew many in that Southern weft
of asphalt
& emotions,
left complex to die,

I never got rid of the MetroCard
kept in my pocket,
in case when I lowered those tiled steps,
one day, I’d find myself
-oh what a life; so subitaneous!-
underneath Union Square,
awaiting the 6.

As the city around me gradually dissolved,
I never lost hope
that return was imminent.

An eternal boiling, somewhere deep in my blood.

[It was


to come back

to the surface.]
מפני האהבה
הגדולה שאינה
מתגלה זולת
ע"י הגלות
“For great love is
revealed only by exile”

(Don’t you think I’ve paid my dues?
Haven’t I suffered enough?)

There is a tradition in Israel
that when you land
you should kiss the ground 
because everystep there is holy

now New York is Jerusalem
and returning is a rite

Every outing,
a pilgrimage by night

Wonders that are fresh
to my now-foreign eyes,

but something
still insists:

A part of     .
me  .
never left

…there is
so subtle
about the
way the
asphalt hits
my feet.

A murmured joy
to this yearned

How even
the Earth
is so charged
with fervor.

And I can’t help but cry and repeat amen each day
(For no matter how diligent they were in their courting,
Penelope waited, still weaving away.)

Jacob Steinberg remains enmeshed. Maybe some day he will leave.

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