The Conspiracy

Poem: Equilibrium

In the beginning God created the heavens and a round earth
But for five thousand years we couldn’t see our world’s true extent.
Blind and unknowing, we drew our flat paper maps with heavy lines and solid edges,
Contained, finite, concrete,
And when we were cast off to its four unfamiliar, foreign corners
We fixed a point in the East to send our prayers and tears and dreams.

When Moses brought the Jews out of Egypt,
No one thought the walk home would take forty years.
Who would expect that the land they were promised,
So close, so immediate
Would take a generation to discover?
No one thought the journey home would be its own saga,
Its own chronicle of twists and turns of the bodies in the desert,
Its own narrative of the highs and lows of their souls
As they danced with God, moving away from and coming toward Him
With the sand shifting under their feet.

Fifteen hundred years after we were scattered across the Earth
Our world increased in dimension.
At once it was not flat or still:
Suddenly we had no center, no starting point, no origin in our world
Suddenly we were not the center, the starting point, the origin of the universe.
We were twisting and turning through the heavens,
A perpetual ballet of rotation and revolution.
In a world of such chaos and motion,
How do you find your way home?

For two thousand years we were scattered across the Earth.
We learned to study in secret and pray in silence,
To remember what we couldn’t see and believe what we couldn’t remember.
We were whirled in circles until directions meant nothing.
In a world forcing us to move faster than even the earth could turn,
How do you find your way home?

When Herzl set his sights far off to the East,
No one thought our walk home would take only fifty years more.
Who would expect that the land we cherished,
So elusive, so distant,
Would take only a generation to rediscover?
No one thought the journey home would be our own triumph,
Our own chronicle of twists and turns through time and place,
Our own narrative of the highs and lows of our souls
As we danced through history, moving away from and coming toward our land
With the sand shifting under our feet.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth
But for two thousand years we wandered in circles around it,
Too dizzy from millennia of constant motion
To find our way home.
Through the centuries and nations we bowed to the East,
The only orientation we knew as we tumbled through time.
Unseeing, uncertain, we prayed in poems for Israel like love songs,
Passionate, dreamlike, wistful,
And when two thousand years of prayers and tears and dreams East
Defied the world’s chaos and motion,
Our footfalls landed on Israel’s sand
In the last step of our frenzied, whirling dance.

Rachel Chabin is a sophomore at Stony Brook University.

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