Fall 2009

Volume 4, Issue 2



I. Return

Waiting at nightfall in trepidation
the clock stands still, my heart stands still, like his
did. Only a short while ago it could have been
the end. Every single thought that courses through my brain
is of his. of him. of a life that may be
over. And as the dawn comes and I climb the stairs, slowly
so as to postpone the horror, the disappointment
I see from afar an eyelid flutter –

II. After Almost Death

Delicate embossing on a wedding invitation
It’s the little things

a wrinkle in a pillow
turquoise towel over the shower pole

Swiftly cut salad and hand-mixed tehini
brown bread, coffee just that way

What does God want from me, now?

Your reading of the Torah
a candle, a melody, a walk in the woods

a fallen tissue, a flute melody, a smile
feeding the children, shaking the crib

blessing them, blessing us
a handshake, a hand held, a dance

A question that will haunt
For the rest of our lives.

III. Emissaries

In a Canadian winter
contentment overtook
exhaustion, frugality, children’s

needs to be served
In a Canadian winter
I rolled on the warm pearl carpet

with a quiet child, dark-skinned
from snow-light
through the window

chants. Songs of whispers.
Indigo smile. Deep ruby laugh.
Chicken broth with Rosa’s home-chopped noodles chewy
flanken, ginger-curved carrots and green

valleys stretched to the sun
And in my spirit, my home
a white valley strung with blessings
and filled with

all of them.

IV. My Fear

When I was a young mother
I read the books and did everything right
My children were five years old
before they ate raw carrots
because a toddler on our maple lined street choked and died at two

I held each tiny hand in an iron grip
within yards of the smallest street
because the son of a friend ran into a dusty road and died at five

I was the only mother on the block who insisted
on bicycle helmets
because a child hit his head and died at ten

dangers lurk everywhere

I was intense
I let them draw on walls
and taught them to swim
because some day
it could save their lives.

But my children recall me as calm and carefree.

Now, as I watch them with their own,
my heart pounds
I suffocate the hysteria rising
at fast moves
new foods
a jump on the bed
What if –

The losing control is the scary part
Knowing that I have to let go

like on the giant trampoline in my friend’s yard
Try it, she said
and as I rose toward the heavens
a deep laugh arose from within me
bursting forth higher and higher

till I cried.




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© 2009 Americana: The Institute for the Study of American Popular Culture