Saturday, April 30, 2011

April 20, Poem 20 - Open Letter to Norma

Open Letter to Norma

For her daughter Yasmeen (may 1 1990 - apr 20 2009)

An elegy

If the locket of ash around your neck

Feels like a bullet; if you ask

Strangers to finger that bullet,

It's smooth weight, it's tip

True and sharp as a prayer

For your daughter's eternity...

If the word tomorrow seems even more

Heavy than the bullet's weight in ash,

And your surviving child, now yours

All yours to raise and love and scold

And let go; if you notice her laughter

To hold something of the peal

Of the sun, if the sun in fact could

Ring, like the living of something precious

And if everything is not in fact a dirge-

then thank some being

That your hands are wells of endless

Love; that your back is broader than any

You'll ever need to cry on. Thank

The strangers, all of them, who in fact

Cup the heft of bullet-ash, as if we could

Help carry the weight.

Your God sends us to you for just

That purpose, just as our God sends

You to us to say "look, look, look

How perfect the world I have made

That this woman laughs and holds

Your hand and walks in grace

And looks at the sky still with the wonder

Of a child."

Thank God that Yasmeen lived

At all to tear all our hearts so perfectly

In two. Believe we all leave you

In love more with ourselves, with you,

With Juliana, with Yasmeen,

With the world.

We leave you, and carry our own grief

Now, like the treasures they are,

The proof of living, the proof

Of being alive - how Spring reminds

Us over and over again, that we become

Substantial from ash, because we are still

Here, and look, look, look

How the sun laughs on all of us.

To schedule a reading or an appearance please contact Ofer Ziv at Blue Flower Arts at 845-677-8559 or email


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