Bio Note: Today I am on grading retreat, but I thought I'd take some time to send out a few new poems. I am spending quarantine with my husband Ethan the wry environmental poet and our alarm cat Thelma. Recently my poems appeared in Mad Swirl, Bradlaugh's Finger, and Ramingo's Porch. Someday I will write poems about spring.
Esther in America
After photographs of Holocaust survivor Esther Sendrowitz
The woman sitting alone in the dark once flew to America to see a man she had known, someone who had known her when they were young, when they were trapped in a ghetto in a city where soldiers spat out German nails and bullets, where churchgoers spat out Polish. In another picture, Esther looks up, almost smiling in the one beam of light in this dark studio without plants or furniture, without children’s trophies, without a chocolate box picture of herself, young, hair tightly braided, face sharp, skin clear. A small sparrow, she flew to America, leaving Israel, where no one had known her young, soft hair like challah tightly braided, eyes as sweet as dates. She left behind her plants and furniture, all new. She left behind the signs, scripts for a new life, some in Hebrew, some in Arabic. She left behind the view of orange trees and ocean, her one companion. She left it all for America, the place where the man she had known lived.
At Our Abandoned City Golf Course
This is not yet Detroit, city of trees blooming from cold smokestacks, swallowing books and brick houses whole. Crossing the green, I don’t smell the hot rankness of sunlit swamps or the spiciness of fields filled with bitter weeds that descendants will savor in venison stew. True, deer have left their mark, but other creatures, even birds, hide from us, the only humans here. I brush off spiders’ webs, makers and prey both gone. Water hazards have vanished, leaving only dry hollows.
©2020 Marianne Szlyk
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