Secrets/You’re Always Watching

You’re always watching and waiting for a mistake
Then you jump, oh you tear me apart
But I have a hundred invisible doors of escape
Alleys and passages leading away from my heart

Oh, my body
the secrets that you keep
and the places we run to
late at night while he’s asleep

He took me downtown and he gave me the jar of water
The people watched as I brought it to my lips
He said if you’re guilty your body will betray you
But I know how to be silent after a kiss

Oh the water was bitter
and full of dark letters that stuck in my throat like a curse
But I drank it all
and I answered amen, amen amen,
amen, amen and goodbye

You’re always watching and waiting for a mistake
Then you jump, oh you tear me apart
But I have a hundred invisible doors of escape
Alleys and passages leading away from my heart


 

The Sotah: the accused adulteress, from the book of Numbers (chapter 5). I’ve taught three bat mitzvah students who have been assigned this portion. It’s been humbling and poignant to experience this story with twelve-year-old girls being brought into their tradition. I was thinking of each of them when I wrote this song.