WHERE SHOULD THE BIRDS FLY AFTER THE LAST SKY?
by janlori goldman
Mahmoud Darwish, 1941-2008
On the road to Nablus I think of you,
your wrecked heart blooming
on rocky hills, a horse’s shadow alone
in a field. Anemones spread
in resolute red— in warning or
welcome it’s too early to say.
A candy store pocked with bullet holes
churns with cement mixers,
makeshift machines coating almonds
in sweet liquid. The shopkeeper says,
Taste this after all you see. In a season
of unripe things, I bite into green almonds,
taxi to the mountain top to watch the village
long in the valley. Gusts of pigeons
blow against stone— all I have been taught
smacks against the rockface.
As a child in synagogue I fit a quarter
into a cardboard slot to plant a tree
in Israel, millions of coins
now tangled roots reaching
for each other in the underworld
that knows nothing of walls.
Janlori Goldman’s first full-length book, Bread from a Stranger’s Oven, was chosen by Laure-Anne Bosselaar for the White Pine Press Poetry Prize (2016). Toadlily Press published her chapbook, Akhmatova’s Egg (2013). Gerald Stern chose her poem ‘At the Cubbyhole Bar’ for the Raynes Prize. Janlori co-founded The Wide Shore: A Journal of Global Women’s Poetry, www.thewideshore.org, and worked with Paris Press on the joint publication of Virginia Woolf's On Being Ill with Notes from Sick Rooms, written by Woolf’s mother, Julia Stephen. Janlori teaches human rights, works at the Center for Justice, and volunteers as a writing mentor for people with cancer. She received an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College.