[The Gershonite families] shall carry the curtains of the Mishkan and the Tent of Meeting. Its covering and the tachash skin . . .
If it’s been your dream to be responsible for the curtains
pray that you were born a Gershonite.
The tachash skin too. (And you’ll do what you’re told
because the Cohen family is in charge and
who doesn’t love a good hierarchy?)
And if you want to know what the tachash skin is
that you’re responsible for, well, you’re not alone.
Ancient people said it is blue or violet from the hyacinth
Or the fur of the weasel, or another clean animal
that lived in the wilderness back when they invented
the curtains to end all curtains. But my favorite possibility,
of all the possibilities, is that the tachash might have been
the skin of a unicorn. Not that I think that unicorns
should ever be skinned – it’s so hard just to find one
to pet – But if the Talmud suggests that a unicorn
could have existed at all, even if it didn’t make it on the ark
even if it’s only ever half a peripheral glimpse away
even if it never moves past the stuff of my dreams,
then I might have just found something
I can believe in again.