Sunday, April 15, 2012

Here There Here

When years pass
and I don't write a letter
and I keep a necklace
in exchange for a dreidel
how do I write a poem

how do I write a poem

when I plan to send art supplies and don't

how do I write a poem

when a beret sits on my shelf

how do I write a poem

when I suspend my dedication
when we see other people
when I wear the necklace

when we sat on a seesaw
the impact of each landing
cushioned by rubber tires
and we searched for balance
in the garden dedicated to children

how do I write a poem
when a poem she sent
is on the wall that I see
when I stand facing East
and a note expresses
that she hopes that I find it
all right

when halva and half-eaten chocolate
wait in my cupboard
for me to get over my fear
and attend to them

how do I write a poem

it was such a dinky dreidel
drab yellow and plastic
although it was placed in my hand
by a professor with bold glasses
who is waiting with pride
for my first published collection

such a little dinky dreidel
stained drab green on the drab yellow
as if a vat of drab green dreidel stuff
had contaminated a vat of drab yellow dreidel
a dinky drab dreidel that compelled her
to remove the necklace from her neck

I brought here there
with a there dreidel

how do I write a poem
for a girl whose eyes
teach me what it means
when an author describes
someone's eyes
as liquid

liquid and smiling
dominating a face
whose lips smile
while drinking chocolate milk
out of a packet
through a tiny straw

whose eyes duck away
from a photograph
at a restaurant
in Jerusalem

whose cell phone alarm clock song
plays on my iPod
as I walk in Manhattan
to take me to a place
of calm and morning and waking up

how do I write a poem
when I should be singing the Song of the Sea
as she requested
the song sung by a little girl
in The Prince of Egypt

here hangs from my neck here
the here of there
the here of her

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I'm sorry, subway traveler
trying hard not to fall over.
It was I who made the pole sticky.
The pomelo was so good, though--
Surely you understand.

- on a train to Washington Heights
with a nod to W.C.Williams

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Привидение / Ghost


У меня есть привидение.
Оно живёт за моей дверью
и только показывается
когда я одна.
У него тайна моего желания
и оно порхает надо мной
роняя листья бумаги
чтобы они тихо падали вокруг меня -
большие квадратные хлопья -
а я продолжаю
свою работу,
готовясь наконец-то


I have a ghost.
It lives behind my door
and only shows itself
when I am alone.
It has the secret of my desire
and it flits above me
tearing up sheets of paper
so that they fall quietly around me -
big square flakes -
and I continue
my own work,
preparing eventually
to sleep.

- written Friday, March 12, 2010; translated into English Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sunday, April 1, 2012


White petals fell from the trees today
and I so wanted one to fall on my hair
so that I could look at you with that look
that starts with a blink and ends with a blink
and it would be so beautiful.