by Gershon Ben-Avraham

Sometimes a sickness comes over me,
As though life itself withdraws,
And leaves behind a fragile shell which,
Curved in two, with knees to chest, lies upon my bed.

Through cold gray winter afternoons,
Fetal-like, stirring not, hardly taking breath I rest,
Till something cold against my hand,
Or soft against my face, is pressed,
Making known another’s need.

Then life returns and animates again this fragile shell.
Modeh ani l’fawnechaw, melech chai v’kahyawm.
Many’s the time this touch alone seemed all that pulled me back.


Note: Modeh ani l’fawnechaw, melech chai v’kahyawm is a Hebrew phrase meaning, “I gratefully thank You, O living and eternal King.” It is part of a thanks giving said by a Jew immediately upon waking from sleep.


GERSHON BEN-AVRAHAM holds an MA in Philosophy (Aesthetics) from Temple University, where he was a student of the American philosopher and aesthetician Monroe Beardsley. His poetry and short stories have appeared in both online and print journals, including Ancient Paths, Bolts of Silk, Numinous: Spiritual Poetry, Poetica Magazine: Contemporary Jewish Writing, Poetry Pacific, The Jewish Literary Journal, and Wild Musette Journal of Music, Mystery and Myth. His short story “Yoineh Bodek” is forthcoming in the spring of 2018 by Image: Art, Faith, Mystery. He lives with his wife Beth and Kulfi, the family collie, in Be’er Sheva, Israel.


Image: “Tomaž Pandur, SONS” by Lauba House