The flamboyant tree is my sign:
turn towards the path
hidden by jasmine.
A black bird accompanies me
the gates a mosaic of longing.
reveal layers of green maroon bark
Yes, this is the path.
Are those frangipani, flowers falling
inverted onto the sidewalk
a core of yellow? Magenta
spills out over the roof
lush and wild in its joy.
San Juan 2010
Note: This poem was published previously in Popt Art.
There is a pattern to petals
1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13
Each number combining
to add up to the next
in geometry’s garden
I count petals
rain pelting the clematis
Random, not random, random
The numbers echo
in the tail of a salamander
From fiddlehead ferns
to the spiraling chambers of the nautilus
our world is full of echoes
*In mathematics, the Fibonacci sequence refers to the numbers 0, 1, and each subsequent number thereafter which is the sum of the previous two.
The silence between us is eloquent and fluid,
like a river between two cities.
Each word a touchstone
an arrow, a shiver, spanning two cities.
The night is moonless,
an amber light washes over our cities.
How many stars remain,
my giver of stars, between our cities?
Through the jasmine scented night
there is a quiver inside our cities.
So many miles and mines and nights
in the path hither between our cities.
The creation of turquoise
It didn’t happen all at once
the elders would say later
then again, it seldom does
Every creation is intentional
even destruction can take its time,
rather it was the inexorable
chipping away of the sky
one kernel at a time
small fragments of
and when the sky touched the earth
the impact created
veins in the stone
so each turquoise would tell the story
of sky and earth colliding
Note: The creation of turquoise was previously published in The Muddy River Poetry Review.
We ladder up into the crown
of the tree, skyward
on wooden ladders
Beholden to the rain and light
for the apples their purple dust
on dusky red
their splattering of stars
This longing to cradle
the apples, the trees, my daughters
back when they ran through orchards
up grafted limbs and branches
Heart to heart, the cortlands grow in pairs
as doubles. The sign says
“Use both hands to pick both apples, at the same time”
The apples fall into my open palms
this tugging of heart, this twisting apart
Begin with the biggest bowl you have,
let it be large enough to contain your whole week.
You will need to wrestle with angels.
Begin in the place of knowing,
the place that venerates.
Summon stillness, kavannah.
In the smallest nesting bowl,
proof the yeast in lukewarm water.
Remember that you are proof.
Let the fragrance of yeast envelop you,
rain, wet earth, fecund.
Measure 7 or 8 cups of flour,
challah is not precise.
Notice the flour cloud.
Make a well.
A deep well to contain the grief.
Pour the yeast water into the well.
Let it seep in.
Add 3 eggs and 3 tablespoons of oil.
Take off your rings.
Let the dough silence your rage.
Pour yourself into the challah,
filament and fractal
fingertip and phial.
Now walk away.
Give it a few hours to grow.
Let it rise.
When you return, let the growth surprise you.
Add raisins, golden and black.
Summon helpers to braid.
Take a tiny marble of dough,
set it apart
to recall loss, sadness.
Braid as if this is your last act.
Round, double braid, single braid.
Trust completely, irrevocably, let go.
After the braids have doubled in size,
entrust them to the oven
under a coat of egg wash.
Let the aroma
permeate your village
with the smell of rest and kindness.
Bring forth the challah
with both hands
Let the heat radiate.
Just as the poet unleashes the poem,
so will you clear a path
This poem was previously published in JewishBoston.com
In cursive and script your kiss
Is indelibly written on skin.
Even now, the cut from your birth
Echoing the rain is written on skin.
The numbers from a time of horror
Are held written on skin.
Just as the rings record the age of the tree
My ages and years are written on skin.
The wood from the forest for the violin
Its music etched in wood, written on skin.
The parchment of history of storied sacrifice
Is written on hides, written on skin.
The newspaper stories of massacre
Collapse and famine are written on skin.
Gems and facets etched in stone
Hidden in garments, written on skin
Your touch on my earlobe, fingerprints on my face
Words and deeds unbidden, written on skin.
The phrase “Written on Skin” is the title of an opera by George Benjamin.
The sap has hardened and trapped these traces
All manner of petals, insects and places
Each of these spaces and countries
Has marked you with its indomitable places
Held in the amber are remnants
Filaments of flowers from unknown places
The leavings of the frozen sea
Antenna hair and wood fruit from buried places
Know that you hold and carry
All of the countries, scars and places
All of the faces are reflected here
The dark and light of the translucent places
In my smooth surface with its liquid landscape
Bee stings are buried in forgotten places
I listen to the shelter of you
the sweeping canopy cradling the day
and night of me
the moon rising in your branches
the stars falling into the sweep of your hair.
I see the feet of your forest
the fingers, the limbs
the concave and convex of you,
the light that falls around us.
I smell your scent of maple,
The light serpentine
falling through the rings