what to tell the man who knows everything

Behind me in the palm trees, planted by the communist sabras before their country demanded they be something else, macaws croak a melodic scale.

Before me, in the lapping waves of the wind-tossed afternoon sea, small fish bob underneath the translucent crests, quicksilver intimations of the life teeming underwater, of the schools of fish who have—for today—escaped the birds who migrate all the way from Sweden and the Congo, who congregate in the marshes several miles behind my head, who turn Lake Hula into an avian Burning Man.

On my face, I feel the lick of wind and the pulsing sun of Mediterranean May. Each follicle of hair on my head begins to twist and curl in the lush humidity of Knesset. The air says—stop—you cannot move, so sit.

Maybe if I wait on the shoreline where the sand turns to pumice pebbles, I will see God appear again on these waters. In the middle of these choppy waves, the Lord will come back to where he has been. I can imagine it for a second—breakfast, fish, charcoal fire, and bread—for a moment I remember that God once saw what I see now. That his hair curled in the damp air, that his face felt this breeze, that his nose sifted through the warm aromas of honeyed straw and olive leaves.

Now, I read Peter’s declarations, I read of their breaking fast on the lakeshore, and I cannot see it. I cannot see the sun melting into the mist of heat above the water, I cannot hear the macaws or the music from the boats or from the kibbutz. But it is a morning like the one I woke up in when Peter turns to God and says: I love you more than these.

I feel in my too-quick heart, in my catches breath, Peter’s anxious heartbeat: how do I tell him that I love him more than the rest, I love him more than breath? How can I assure the God that I have harmed that coursing through my veins is nothing but regret and the choler of remuneration, of reparations.

But he sits on the lakeshore, God digs his toes in sand, and asks for my reconciliation, asks for a gentler shepherd and a tendered man.

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