Monday, September 12, 2011

With Neko Case at the Temple


I sit outside the temple with Neko Case and my dog. None of us are Jewish, but that doesn’t seem to matter. Neko smokes cigarettes, the only thing I don’t like about her, and the smoke drifts by us on God’s own breeze. The dog, who doesn’t smoke (there is nothing I don’t love about her), sits low. She sniffs for scents more mysterious than cigarette smoke. Neko asks the dog a question about death. And, I suppose, life. The dog lifts her head. Sniffs the air. Stares at Neko, then licks her lips and yawns. Neko watches, drags on her cigarette and hangs her head as she exhales. Smoke envelops her red hair. I can’t see her face. Sitting between them, outside the temple, before which the rabbi now stands, I understand none of it. I feel as though it is all mystery. I don’t know why petting a dog always comforts. How cigarette smoke sometimes entices. What the Torah is saying as the Rabbi reads. I don’t even know why Neko Case is here or why she curses, butts her cigarette on her shoe, and goes off saying that she needs a guitar. The dog gets up, stretches, and follows her across the parking lot. That, at least, makes perfect sense sitting outside the temple alone under the blue sky and clouds of heaven.