Sunday, April 16, 2017

samaritan woman | sheila rosen


On the outskirts of Sychar,
I bear my empty water jar to Jacob's well.
Under searing sun this daily trek is only one
of the vexing complications of my day.

Mornings I wake with dryness. I've dreamed again
of water pots, spilling, cracking, falling into shards.
I rouse myself before others, to keep my tryst
with the tiny bird that darts and sings each morning.
by my door. This small fidelity is all
that whets my appetite for another day.

The sun is high. Each day’s a new beginning, they say.
I set out alone, turning over, like dusty prayer beads,
the usual string of questions:

How is each day new? I am who I am, and was
all the other beginnings. Where is my help?
Neither in me nor the man who is not my husband
and isn’t likely to stay. I look up to the hills.
Where is the one true worship that might lift me,
even me, to the heights? Where is running water
for this never-ending thirst? Where, in this heat
is there even one bird singing?

My throat is dry. My feet hurt. I'll do well
to fill my water pot and bear it home. I'll climb
no bless/ed mountain today. Would that God
were a man who’d come down off his holy hill
and give me a hand drawing water. Deep water
from Jacob’s ancient well. And sweet,
I want sweet water, I want a soaking —
water enough to set a small bird singing,
under this scorching Samaritan sky.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

found poem | no use


gift wrap,
old prescriptions, old chargers, broken headphones,
old towels, old bath mats, chipped mugs,

old magazines,

shoe boxes, old bills, dried pens,
old warranties, receipts,

takeout menus,
event tickets, invitations, old nail polish,
party favours, broken jewelry,
unused gifts.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

found poem | assembled from the pages of the new yorker, 2016


Other people's minds are a foreign country
in which we're guests, tourists, or strangers,
unsure where we are and what's expected of us.
People say things that they don't mean literally:
"Someday I am going to get my eyes open all the time
and then I will eat you and Lizzie both."
They tell jokes and they use ironic expressions:
"Make it extremely squalid and moving.
Are you at all acquainted with squalor?"

He'd had enough of what people said,
tips and tales, theories, tidbits.
If he could have it his way,
nobody would ever say anything again.

Once,
looking through this garbled, pearly whorled window,
he'd pulled a seven-foot coil of ingrown hair from an abscess
on the tip of a patient's tailbone,
theatrically slipping sleeping pills
into their tea,
a cluster of pastel plaster.

He was not well behaved in the girlfriend situation.
Unsuitability, resistance, seduction,
failure of imagination,
failure of courage,
bad planning,
incompetence,
corruption,
fecklessness,
the laws of nations,
the laws of physics,
the weight of history,
inertia of all sorts;
like an exotic dancer at a trustee's meeting.