A Literary Magazine in Support of the Jewish Community

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Every Year We Open the Door by Bruce Black

Every Year We Open the Door

Every year we open the door

for Elijah and pray for the peace

that he will bring into the world


and we watch the door swing

open and wait for the sound

of his sandals to scrape against

the floor and the swish of his robe

to brush against the table


we watch for the slightest movement

of air, for the hint of a ripple in the goblet

of wine that we filled for him and set in

the middle of the table


It’s like watching for a ghost, waiting for

a memory to reappear, and each year

we hope to be given a glimpse of his beard,

his eyes, his hand lifting the cup to his lips


And every year he comes and departs

without letting himself be seen, invisible,

a dream, perhaps, that we dreamed one

year, and ever since we pray for the dream

to return


We call him Elijah the prophet—Eliahu

ha Navi—but we could call him Elijah the Ghost

because we never set eyes on him, even though

he comes every year to our table, perhaps not

to sip the wine from his goblet but just to see

if we are still waiting, still willing to believe

he will return.

Bruce Black

Bruce Black is the author of Writing Yoga (Rodmell/Shambhala) and editorial director of The Jewish Writing Project. His poems and personal essays have appeared in Tiferet Journal, Hevria, Jewthink, The Jewish Literary Journal, Soul-Lit, Poetica, Atherton Review, Elephant Journal, Blue Lyra Review, and elsewhere. He lives in Sarasota, Florida.


Bruce Black