Bli Ayin Hara Are Words I Inherited

Bli Ayin Hara Are Words I Inherited

By Dr. Jennifer Wolkin

Bli Ayin Hara Are Words I Inherited

My dad said not to say anything
I was proud of, out loud.  

My teacher from yeshiva once said if I
counted people I had to say “not 1, not 2, not 3…”  

My mom tied a red Kabbalah string from
Israel to my first bra. 

She also brought me to a rabbi for a
blessing, because I wasn’t finding a shidduch.

*

From 7 until I was 10 I kissed the
mezuzah 7 times in a row. I had to touch
my whole hand over the letter shin or I
        had to start from 1 again.

Before bed I had to say the shema
yisrael exactly 3 times (3 to cancel
out 2, because 2 already canceled
        out each other). 

I had to stress every syllable-
the repetition of prayer becoming
heavy on my tongue, like weight
         I was tiring from. 

*

When I was 18, I exhausted my belief
in a punishing
                 deity.

*

Now, when I feel an impulse to count
I compose Haiku-

Instead of tallying like a tic
that can’t be scratched,
I’m soothed by the cadence
                  of 5-7-5.

 


My name is Jen. I’m a health and neuro psychologist, speaker, mental health advocate, and mindfulness-meditation practitioner. I just started my MFA in creative writing and literary translation at Queens College. I have recently been published/forthcoming in Third Point Press, Streetlight Press, Sooth Swarm Journal, A Beautiful Space, British Journal of Medical Practitioners, Flypaper, Ars Medica, theSame, Black Fox Literary Magazine, Unbroken, and others.

My non-fiction work translating and sharing the science of brain research and mindfulness has been published in Thrive Global, The Huffington Post, Mindful.org, PsychCentral among others. They are compiled and can be found on my blog BrainCurves.com

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