The Jewish Gauchos of Entre Rios, 1917

(for my grandparents, Pincus and Miriam) Everything is their fault, from the breadcrust economy to the Tsar’s scraggle-beard. They’re even fined for refusing to pray for Alexander’s health. The border-door slams behind, severs them from…

Bachelard’s Cabinet

          (for Jake Berthot) A cabinet rattles. A vague scritch and tilt today. Other days, inner cracking, an egg inside an egg. From inside the house it irritates, insists on investigation….

One Good Turn

In the subway, a girl screams. A man surges at her, prick out. This is beyond a man’s need to do what boys do behind locked doors, into sheets they know their mothers will touch….

Yom Kippur

The sunlight didn’t break, we are broken, the word ‘broken’ is broken. (Yehuda Amichai)   Today, everything hurts, and I’m as close to god as I’ll ever come, or want to be.  I try to…

Torn Grin

torn at the knee, jeans frayed,  skin peeks out at the bend, the  exposed joint  grins.   from Four and Twenty, www.fourandtwenty.org, July 2011

No Matter How Hard

A stack of plates in a field waits to set a table, wonders where did the cupboard go,   as if the creation of plates is the meadow’s task, as if a hay-high expanse is…

Sergeant Ron’s Reveille

At 7:30 a.m. every day he mows, rides around and around and around his yard— the revved beast our daily dread. Neighbors grumble under Sunday quilts but nothing stops him. Crew-cut grass salutes the fuming…

Catskills

That summer in the bungalow, Grandma grips the things in her domain: cast-iron skillet, spatula, a carton of double-yolked eggs. My nose at her elbow, I watch shells split on the rim, conjoined suns whisked…

Burying Ground

June nights my mother worked the yard, pruning American Beauties, dead-heading petunias, the gummy velvet of spent petals on her fingers. Tom Seaver blows her a kiss from the t.v. on the patio. She watches…

That Chocolate Cake

I enter through a hole in the metal fence, hold thin to skim the rippers. Beyond the woods, the golf course   where I rescue stray balls from the driving range. I pocket the ones…