When I Grow Up

by Joy Ladin

When I grow up I want to be born, how fabulous would that be –
to emerge from the ocean ready to start breathing?

When I grow up I want to be a Thou
like Buber’s rocks and trees.

I want to be lucid in my dreams,
to know I’m flying even when I’m lying

in the humidor of the grave.
When I grow up, I want to be the aleph that preceded the bet

the spirit of God
made and won with formlessness.

I want to hover over the face of the deep
and remember the God who created Heaven and Earth

is who I’ve always been.









Joy Ladin is the author of seven books of poetry, including just-published Impersonation and Lambda Literary Award finalist Transmigration. Her memoir of gender transition, Through the Door of Life, was a 2012 National Jewish Book Award finalist. She holds the David and Ruth Gottesman Chair in English at Stern College of Yeshiva University.


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