The Infinitely Tall Rabbi Lectures on Recreation Ex Nihilo Via Divine Speech

Yehoshua November


It’s the Principle of the Cosmic Hardware Store:
The floor will hold not because of sound construction

but because, each moment, the floorboards are re-spoken
into existence. Indeed, the Law of Conservation of Matter

would disappear from every textbook
were it not announced again and again

over Heaven’s staticky intercom system.
One must train oneself, therefore,

to call the world’s bluff, train oneself,
upon boarding a plane, for example,

to believe it is safe not because of the pilot’s
credentials, the ground crew’s inspection, the expert

wiring of the control panel. The titanium alloy,
the screws fastening the fuselage,

the snow, the fog, the otherness
of the passenger in the window seat,

their nose ring and neo gothic novel —
all continuously articulated

out of nothingness
and into being

like the cup of seltzer with a wedge of lime
the flight attendant’s hand

extends toward you
through the cabin air—

the mystery
————–of creation.


Yehoshua November is the author of two poetry collections, God’s Optimism (a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize) and Two Worlds Exist (a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award and the Paterson Poetry Prize). His work has been featured in The New York Times Magazine, Harvard Divinity Bulletin, The Sun, Virginia Quarterly Review, on National Public Radio and On Being’s Poetry Unbound podcast program.



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