My soul is not within me: I find it around me. I can hear it.
It is the maestro of the great concert of imagination and expression.
My soul has a subtle sparkle, not an overwhelming glimmer: a light bright enough to demand attention.
Comprised of songs and prayers: it is that beautiful rendition of Sim Shalom, the Avinu Malkeinu
harmony that shatters all wounds, the moving niggun that was passed down from generations before.

You can hear them, the glass triads dancing gracefully, like a young girl who sways her hips on a dusty, empty dance floor at midnight.
The chords cradle my wounded heart like a mother cradling a sickly, helpless child.
My soul has no definition, no boundaries. There is no sole color, taste, or form.
There is only a beat: it is even, not rushing or slowing for anyone,
Keeping me steady and rooted in the tempo of sanity.

Then there are times when pain is amplified, taking a dynamic of fortissimo,
Begging me to relinquish my melody, trying to rob me of my beat.
But the songs build an umbrella, a serene paradise in a deluge of hate.
I can still hear the humbled sounds of my melody,
And with the steady tempo of that repertoire driving me,
My soul allows me to reach and find that subtle sparkle of light once more.
Precise and sharp are the weapons of solitude,
But stronger is the crescendo of my soul that allows me to soar past all fear.

Even when my heart spins with an accelerando of doubt,
Or my body takes on a heavy ritardando, moving slowly like a waltz on a cloud,
My soul manages to revitalize me,
Breathing fulfillment into my worn lungs.

My soul has been a sculptor, using life’s minor chords as its clay,
And shaping them into smooth major chords: works of art.
Then comes the artisan, with bristles of symphony,
To paint the pottery with the thick paints of hope and love.
In the pottery sits the orchestra of my soul,
And on the shelf of contentment it will sit,
Until the composition of life comes to its finale.

Abigail Yadegar is a sophomore at Milken Community High School in Los Angeles.