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.

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