Comment on this article



a chorus of scolding aunts rises out of the dark matter 

I call for rescue "I can't stop working on this book!"

you arrive at my door brimming with questions

make sure my canteen is full   

Malibu Beach  condoms  old socks  decorate brush

we walk along the ridge  stare down into roiling waters 

you ask "did you go to temple  fast? 

how much do you really remember?"


I give you this sketch

            a child in a blue tweed coat matching hat

            waits with her father outside a shul

            her Zada remains to lullabye the dead

            the child wants shelter from slant autumn heat

            to be inside the mystery  taste the singing

            the day before she had shopped

            with her mother at open-air markets 

            she wears the aroma of fish on ice

            she carries the music of women hondling

            in a clay jar on her head as she travels up-river 

            she stumbles  the jar breaks 

            no one believes the spillage is hers  


you have just returned from Baywood Park

described pelicans' morning feed display

skimmed over the beloved wrestling his dreams

we debate the names of shore-birds 

a surfer emerges

board in front of him  buttocks exposed 

we giggle at his sheepish smile

ignore helicopter  graffiti  boy beating his sorrows

on the cliffs above the worshippers


our secrets  our squabbles

become the bread and cheese we share

ghosts gather on the reef 

we greet them and feast




by Nancy Shiffrin copyright 2000 THE HOLY LETTERS


Nancy Shiffrin is the author of
THE HOLY LETTERS (poems) and MY JEWISH NAME (essays)
signed inscribed copies available at
POB 1506 Santa Monica CA 90406  310.302.1107
Dr. Shiffrin helps aspiring writers achieve
publication and personal satisfaction
(put CWS or Book Order in subject line)
more books by Nancy Shiffrin at





Return to:

[New] [Archives] [Join] [Contact Us] [Poetry in Motion] [Store] [Staff] [Guidelines]