The following poem from the book THE HARDSHIP POST is by Jehanne Dubrow, whose husband is career Navy currently serving on a destroyer out of Virginia.
Look closely at the metal sleeve, a case
no bigger than my thumb. You’ll see it shows
a month of prints: some dirt I carried in
under my nails or dust I carried out,
a trace of flour from bread I baked,
and inky spots from messages I wrote.
Write them upon the doorposts of thy house
and on thy gates. In Deuteronomy,
we Jews are told that even entrances
and exits from the home must have their rules.
If only habit could convert to faith.
My fingertips have brushed the case, a touch
as quick, unthinking as a gust of wind
across the water’s surface. I’ve kissed my hand,
returned the blessing to my lips, hoping
a taste would help me understand our laws.
The rabbis say that guards cannot protect
a king, but Torah keeps a beggar safe.
Beneath the silver lid, a parchment scroll
is rolled too tight to let in disbelief,
the prayer facing in upon itself,
the words like lovers in a darkened room.
A name of God is written on the square—
I cannot see it, but I know it’s there.