After by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat

This poem is part of a virtual gallery to celebrate the launch of my new novel, Afterwards.


After the wrong-footed morning
after the temper tantrum
after my voice curdled and ugly

how long will it take
before he stops shouting no,
tangled in the net of his anger

before I can apologize
promise I’m listening
extricate us both?

The more we struggle
the tighter we’re bound,
diamond mesh cutting deep.

If I can just be still
the twisted knots will loosen
and I can reach for the after

when we’re cuddled again
watching cartoons, his arms
flung careless around my knees.

Rabbi Rachel Barenblat


Rabbi Rachel Barenblat was ordained by ALEPH: the Alliance for Jewish Renewal in 2011. She holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars and is author of three book-length collections of poetry: 70 faces: Torah poems (Phoenicia Publishing, 2011), Waiting to Unfold (Phoenicia, 2013), and the forthcoming Open My Lips (Ben Yehuda, 2014), as well as several chapbooks of poetry. A 2012 Rabbis Without Borders Fellow, she participated in a 2009 retreat for Emerging Jewish and Muslim Religious Leaders in 2009, and in 2014 will serve as faculty for that retreat. Since 2003 she has blogged as The Velveteen Rabbi; in 2008, TIME named her blog one of the top 25 sites on the internet. She has been an off-and-on contributor to Zeek since 2005. She serves Congregation Beth Israel, a small Reform-affiliated congregation in western Massachusetts, where she lives with her husband Ethan Zuckerman and their son.



“Robyn’s calm wisdom shines through the telling of this story of ordinary, everyday people seeking to find a sense of belonging, love and meaning in the modern world.” ~ Debbie 

Afterwards is the new novel from Satya Robyn. After a serious car crash shatters April’s mundane life, she decides to run the London marathon. Will she reach the finishing line? Compelling and illuminating, it reminds us that it is never too late to begin over again.