First Edition | Poetry

Psalm (Mikveh)

by dan bellm

does a person     a soul in

a body     ever become

new     can this be     like in the

infinite small hour of an

evening in which there is no

line between the day and night

yet we discern a crossing

over     impossible to

say just when     and it’s done     I

enter the water that springs

from a cleft in the rock     here

between myself and you not

even the distance of the

name I wore on my right hand

and as for my eyes     what was

visible through a glass I

remove to see     do you then

all near to my narrow place

hear me     should I call out     and

answer from the wide expanse

motion of spirit and breath

voice over the face of the

soundless water     saying I

am who I will be     can I

rise up reborn     will you reach

across the fearful twilight

hour to me     reaching for you


Dan Bellm, a poet and translator living in Berkeley, has published three books of poetry, most recently “Practice: A Book of Midrash” (Sixteen Rivers Press), winner of a 2009 California Book Award. He teaches literary translation at Antioch University-Los Angeles, and has received a 2013 translation fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.