Letter from a Hungry Ancestor

By Daniel Blokh

A Ghazal

That was you hiding in my chest: the hollow promise
tucked between my ribs, vacancy resting against the air

in my lungs. I held you because I had nothing
else. You were the unborn gulp of air,

inverted ghost, spectre waiting for skin.
If you could get there soon enough, I might taste air

again. But every day my father faded,
my mother’s skin paling into hot desert air.

I walked on my knees, learned to speak
like wind, to take out my voice and fill the space with air.

I whispered your name like a prayer. Called you synagogue,
or Abraham, or Daniel, or a breath of air.