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

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