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Sep 2019
Hineni, Hineni; I’m ready, my lord.”  
(For Evangeline Ruth Hope


”Hineni is Hebrew for “here I am,” and is the response
Abraham gives when God calls on him
to sacrifice his son Isaac. It is also the name of a
prayer of preparation and humility, addressed to God”


what you do not know
is that this word,
was spoken with a fist beating
a pin into the praying man’s chest

recited daily,
shades of hopeful, reverent resonance,
a shaded resolution, disguised as a quavering variable,
a statement, a questioning, an unsteady surety,
all of the above

this word, rooted in my genetic consciousness,
been ready repeated since my first whispering

was I ten years aged?

first time, full on bowing
on the synagogue floor, not fully understanding or
ready to confess my selfish need for forgiveness,
my forehead resting on my stubbed fingers resting on carpet,
worn thin by my predecessors ancestors,
who now comprehend more, but then, never enough

these same fingers, that write this collective,
a word repeated oft, flavoring of the who
of who I am, a training in soul fracking from
early childhood, its import, powerful beyond
today’s identity revisionist empowering

let me plainly speak, in the original language
taught to me with that other tag along, English,
a lingua franca, a dialect that can never capture
a soul presenting himself in substantiated readiness

for the whatever exists in between
hallelujah and hineni, where the rubber soul
hits the road, stumbling on hands and knees
on a forest path of roots and soil, where sunlight breaks tween
branches, are road signs to look up, look down, look within

I know your name,
Evangeline Ruth Hope
analyzed its components,
cleverly constructed Greek and Hebrew rooted,
bearer of good tidings, following Ruth in, to hope,
you a Moabite in Mormon Utah, preparing
yourself for exposure, practicing humility
unceasingly seeking


that is how it should be

cannot translate well enough
what was this gift given to me
learning as a youth, a wanderer, tribal member
where beseeching is second nature,

and accepting personal responsibility fully cardinal,
fiddling prayers while standing unsteady on
the roofs of extreme shakiness

hineni is then but this:
a prideful admission of strength

ready ready ready, here I am,
completely unready for the unknown future foretold,

hineni I know

here I am,
ready or not,
find me so I can be found,
cease, help me cease, my foundering,
confident in my willingness to
find a way

Nat Lipstadt
Written by
Nat Lipstadt  M/nyc
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