We keep our eyes closed deeply
Traipsing into the severed night.
Pandora's box of thoughts
Invades our mind's delight.
Yet even when earthly eyelashes
From the insomnia of the moon
We oft forget to ask about her.
It is the sun's turn to loom.
One night I'll prop my elbows by the window
And wonder with my eyes:
What's lurking in your shadows, moon,
Leading to your silent cries?
Answer she may, or she may not
That is not why I ask.
I hope to bring her fullness back
So she may shine at last.
I used to believe in the magic of eyelashes.
I would find one on my cheek
After rubbing my eyes "good morning."
I stared it down from my finger
As the words to make the wish
Would formulate in my mind,
Watching the long, thin hair
Like the slits of my mother's mistrustful eyes
When her cherry-colored face
Shakes with vigor opposite
My father, gaunt.
The wind gathered strength
Inside of me,
The eyelash would float away -
A black dandelion.
How many eyelashes does it take
To stop the stickiness
Rolling toward my chin?
One day I may find my eyes bare
With no way
To stop the blotches of ink from smudging
On the paper that I write on.
But that's if I still believed in the magic of eyelashes.
I breathed in fear and exhaled
Our bodies were not yet ready
his did the same
And we dragged the tips
of our feet across
The wooden floor
Like walking on water
Then a (hip) twist (but no shout)
Then he folded his hand around
Like holding a dove
And embraced me with
And I felt
I could move
to his power
What’s in a name?
It is what turns heads
It can cause a quiver in your body
Or a smile to curl onto your lips.
A name can be tarnished
It can make you stand out from the crowd
Or join the masses.
It is more than what society deems
A socially acceptable form of
So let me introduce myself:
I used to feel my name in harsh syllables
Rooted in the language of my people’s history.
MAR or MIR meant bitter.
Like having the wrong taste in your mouth
Reminding me of MARor –
Eaten on Passover to remember how burdensome,
Difficult and bitter the Jews’ slavery in Egypt was.
IAM (YAM) – ocean.
Tumultuous, never still.
Always swirling and scaring children out of it.
MIRIAM – my Hebrew name.
I grew into that name resentfully.
I reacted when I was called that by fellow classmates,
For what else could I do?
But time went by
And I began collecting seashells by the seashore.
The ocean became a treasure and my name
Had a new ring to it.
Yet when eighth grade graduation came around I was given the option
Of writing Mariya instead of Miriam.
I was going to high school where I didn’t know anyone.
So no one needed to know my bitter past.
I also learned that a name was not made up of syllables
But of sweet sounds.
Mmm – like the taste of something so delicious your eyes close
And you feel yourself melting.
Aaa – you’ve just finished your meal and on this hot summer day
You find solace in the cool water running down your back in the shower.
Rrr – racing, running, reaching for the sky.
That’s the sound I want my plane to make when I can hold a piece of
Cloud in the palm of my hand and feel its silver lining.
Iii – the sound of “and” in many languages. The sound of something more,
Reminding me that this is not the end.
Ya – the sound of agreement and conclusion. As if that is all I have to say…so yeah.
The sand is drenched with misty water
Falling from the sky.
My shovel cradles the clustered grains until
They are ready to be deposited
Into the security of a plastic bucket.
Once it is filled,
The infamous flip happens.
Then I am bound to lift the bucket
And embrace whatever I find underneath.
I squint, only wanting to half-look
At the potential abomination.
But I find myself pleasantly surprised;
From the cold droplets condensing on my skin,
What does it feel like to be oddly unaware of the proportions of your body?
When all you imagine yourself to be is a distorted figure
Forever shifting shapes and lengths
Like in a fun house mirror at the carnival.
But this is no illusion, my friend.
You open your eyes
Stretch out your legs
And it looks to you as though
You are two feet longer
Than you were an hour ago.
You close your eyes
And your cheeks have grown plumper
And the ground feels almost reachable
You curl up into a ball in fear
And realize the sensation has stopped.
You can only be as Down to Earth
And as High in the Heavens
As you feel.
But who says you have to pick one?
When bread is scarce and milk is a commodity,
When someone else makes decisions for your family’s needs,
When people cut in line because their life depends on it,
When there is yelling about portions sizes – “My family is bigger so I deserve more!”
When there is yelling about younger people deserving more because
Face it, they are going to live longer.
I’ve seen the oldest bunch in the neighborhood,
(Here in America)
Line up outside the pharmacy
Waiting for the day’s free newspaper to become available.
The news is not really a commodity but to be first informed is to be proud.
Then they can gossip all day about it in the park!
Well, that’s one way to interpret the trickle-down effect.
“It is in their blood,” I am told.
To wait – it’s all they know how to do.
I know what waiting is –
Standing in line until your knees ache
Your heart races faster than the line is moving
The people around you push and shove making absurd declarations like
“I was here first!”
I was born a little late to have the wait frenzy indoctrinate me.
I will never understand.
Just to give a little background: long lines for certain foods were very common in the Soviet Union and it's what my parents grew up with. I find it unfair but at the same time a bit disheartened that there will always be this big misunderstanding about both generational and cultural differences between us. How remarkably different are our experiences from those of the previous generation!