by Arlyn Miller
This post is the third of a three-part series of poems inspired by our Gathering the Waters International Mikveh Conference in 2010.
This time in benevolence
without violence or betrayal.
This time without someone else’s story
dragging you under, drowning
you breathless with terror.
begins with you.
Take the love you have been given,
that which you have seen
and that to which you have been blind,
and sew it together to make a whole
cloth of shelter and fertile comfort.
Pick a name for yourself,
the name by which you want to be known,
the name by which you want to know yourself.
A poet, essayist and journalist, Arlyn Miller was inspired to write these three poems while attending an international conference at Mayyim Hayyim. Of the three poems, “Gathering the Waters” (which was also the title of the conference), appeared in the Jewish Women’s Literary Annual, Volume 9, 2013, and is reprinted here with the kind permission of the author. The piece first appeared digitally on the Jewish Writing Project.
Arlyn is the founding editor of Poetic License Press, which publishes creative writing that is “authentic, accessible and engaging,” including the poetry anthologies, A Light Breakfast: Poems to Start Your Day and A Midnight Snack: Poems for Late Night Reading. Arlyn teaches writing workshops in the Chicago area. Her poems, essays, and articles have been widely published.