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My Current Promised Land

At dawn, when I face east and cypresses, I smell the ocean.
In the stillness of the heat I hear the palm tree creaking,  

dates dropping on cement. Blinds clatter,
when night falls with the temperature, fragments of Hebrew 

fill my room, the song of crickets, not cicadas.
I caress each new book on the bamboo shelves. 

Another city lies beyond my street’s retrofitted buildings,
my previous encampments are within me, far away. 

I say their names out loud to remember how I got here
and where to go, I wonder if we or the heavens choose 

when to close one circle and start another.
I recall my last walk down the Slope, past spread-out tables  

and makeshift shelters lit by colored bulbs, adorned with flowers,
like sukkahs sprinkled across the neighborhood before their time. 

 How free I felt in my solitude before departing,
how free the diners seemed, restricted by a new-won liberty, 

outside, underneath canopies and flimsy tarps,
tranquility afforded by an emergency response.


Julia Knobloch is a student at the Ziegler School for Rabbinic Studied and published her debut full-length poetry collection Do Not Return in 2019 with Broadstone Books. 

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