A poem by FRANCESCA KURLANSKY.
Jerusalem is where I was born, six years ago.
Amongst the shuffle of black-booted feet on white stone.
I faced the sky.
Flew soft-handed through the rhythm of elation.
Jerusalem is where I fell in love with you, six years ago.
Amongst the slipping and sliding of bare feet on white stone.
I see you now, dark-browed, green-eyed, deep with soul.
I remember you, dancing with me in the Jerusalem moonlight.
Cold grass on our knees as we laughed and knelt in our dresses.
I have known you since God created the first humans.
You told me they were made of light, and I see that in you.
Elated, moved, pained, holder of truth.
We sit together now, heavy with red wine.
I feel like we are back, six years ago, holding hands and only seeing each other.
The world moves in and out of focus, but you are always clear.
I remember you in my memories,
Not there but still present.
And that is when I know.
I cannot remember a time before you.
A message from the author: This poem is a complex love letter to myself, former lovers, and to Jerusalem. It captures a moment in our maturation – the last years of teenagehood – where we are at once deeply vulnerable and exploring our imminent independence. I spent my gap year in Jerusalem, and that period of my life was akin to a rebirth for me. Leaving behind childhood, a recent period of severe illness, and falling in love with friends, a lover, and a city. Jerusalem holds a spiritual centrality in Judaism – our daily prayers reference it – and it is not only a geographical destination of magic and beauty, but it has also come to be synonymous with Jewish hope. In moments of deep despair, and violent oppression, Jerusalem has remained a beacon of freedom and respite.
Featured image courtesy of Francesca Kurlansky.