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Alicia Jo Rabins

Alicia Jo Rabins is a writer, musician, performer and Torah teacher. The New York Times calls her voice “gorgeous”; the San Francisco Chronicle calls her writing “a poetry page-turner, both sexy and humble.” She is the author of Divinity School (winner of the 2015 APR/Honickman First Book Prize) and Fruit Geode (finalist for the 2018 Jewish Book Award), and has released three albums and accompanying study guides with Girls in Trouble, her indie-folk song cycle about women in Torah. Rabins lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and their two children.

On Breathing

I’m OK during the day, but at night I get scared,
Which makes it hard to breathe, which is a symptom
Of the pandemic, which is what scares me.
Well played, anxiety, my old friend. You’ve always
Warned me something like this might happen.
You’re a gift from my ancestors who survived plagues,
And worse. They wove you into my DNA to warn me,
so that I too might survive. Now that it’s happening,
Anxiety, I don’t need you any more. I need
The ones who gave you to me. so hear me, ancestors
Who lived through danger times: I’m ready for you now.
All these years I’ve carried your worries In my bones.
Now I need your love, your thousand-year view.
Tell me it’s going to be OK, remind me you made it
Through, and we will too. Teach me to breathe.

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