after Qoholet

Written by Kimbol Soques
Originally published in the February 2017 issue of TWJ.

I looked at the world
and saw emptiness:
tides of evil washing higher than my pebbles,
my bulwark of good effort.

I saw smiles like shells
            no love nor care within
Gracefulness as armor
                     or weapon.

I emptied: hollowed as an eaten tree
Why work?
     why smile?
         why love?

A sage said: good and evil are
                tied together like a hand:
                without each side,
                nothing can be grasped.

A sage said: work is living
               work when hollow to fill;
               work when full to overflow

A sage said: these things I know are good —
               dinner with friends in laughter — the
               sun rising as the lake steams — the kiss
               of the love of one’s age

Hollow, I worked

                  until I turned from work to realize I was filled

Hollow, I smiled

                  and heard my laugh ring forth with friends

Hollow as a broken reed, I kissed
and found my head resting on my love’s shoulder, watching the sun.
                                                                                                                                               Psalm 118:24

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