Learning to Pray

Learning to Pray by Miriam Cory - Photo by Marika Campbell-Blue

After Kaveh Akbar, “Learning to Pray”

You ask if I know Hebrew.
(I wish I did)
I only smile and shake my head. I wonder,
Do you think Catholics speak Latin?

I learned to imitate sounds and draw
shapes on a whiteboard.
(16 years of religious school)

I tell you
I can read Hebrew, but that’s not even true.

I can sound out words and recognize a few.
(The prayers? Those are memorized)
ברוך – Bless. אלהינו– our God.
לילה – Night. טוב– Good.

You and I discuss the tenets of Judaism
(One God, no messiah, etc.)
Or that my family bakes bread every week to observe Shabbat.

Would you believe
That I am more religious than my parents?
(For one definition of religious, anyway)
I know more of the stories and the teachings,

I think I believe in God
And I choose this knowing—this believing.
(My ideas change sometimes)
Did you guess that?
All my life I have been
Learning to pray in America
(Land of “religious freedom”)
A dark blue thread shining
Against the white.

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