Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Last Summer

This is my last

I must listen
to birds

And tend flowers;

My retinas
must train

On every
small stone.

I must recall
the sun

During final


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

from "The Need of Being Versed in Country Things," by Robert Frost

The birds that came to it* through the air
At broken windows flew out and in,
Their murmurs more like the sigh we sigh
From too much dwelling on what has been.

*an old barn

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sonnet, 5/14/08

The strong honk of the morning gulls
sounds its sober call. The waves abound
with wealth to be found, and so the day's competition
has begun. I listen from my pillow
and imagine I am not alone.
Lying on my right arm, I can feel
breasts that seem much too grown. (Breasts
that fostered life for more than one full year,
now unfamiliar reminders of a child
also not known.) If I should hear the phone,
I'd ignore its electronic cries. If you
should knock on my door, I would hardly hear
or just pretend in my mourning haze
that nobody I knew was standing there.


Yahrtzeit, for my father, 7/15/89

There is a flame
that has no name.

it came
before a time
when flames
had names.

it smells
of pinks and reds
and featherbeds
and wooly cheeks
and spider's webs.

it burns
my ancient

it does not know
the king is dead.


for my father, d. 7/8/69

I am so little-girl hungry
for your hairy body:
climbing the rolling hills of legs
I bite
the swilling grass;
your toes poke my belly
and I squeal.

Oh Daddy-gone-by:
I take down your skull,
and I cry.

em 9/9/87

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

from Jeff, Mother's Day, 2007

"The flower reminded me of you - struggling to grow and in improbably difficult and harsh circumstances (it's cement, for goodness sakes!) and managing not only to grow but to flourish into something very beautiful and special. Survival against the odds is a blessing."

Mother's Day, 2008: Jeff, as I always tried to grow you.

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Mom, I thought of you today
and the way you'd pin
a scarf to your hair sometimes. You never said
it was what your own mother had done
in the shtetl, across the sea, every day of her married life.
You never asked me to do the same, for perhaps
the covering of your head represented only a gesture,
the fix for a bit of unruly hair some afternoons,
two pins haphazardly placed, one over each ear.
Who will ever know?
All that I know is of your beauty:
how that slight tuck of hair enhanced
the best face I have ever seen.
I,the ugly duck, you,the queen of sequins and the divine,
each serving her duty to the other:
mother to daughter, daughter to mother,
played out one million times before.

In your last photo, taken on the front porch,
your face takes on the look of an entire generation.
Tumor hidden, a simple transcendent light
glows from inside your brain. You display
only a slight backward glance.
You would be dying soon, and it was fine;
years had played themselves out,
and you had chosen your next in line.
All was well: You had transferred your hell.
The Queen is dead; now lives her broken shell.

ellen moser
for mom's 104th birthday

Friday, May 2, 2008

Dream, May 2, 2008

I am hopelessly and terrifyingly lost, even on the streets of Sea Gate.

I have lost Jeff, and cannot find him.

I search for Greg and cry out, "Is Greg gone too?"

I finally find Greg. He refuses to believe Jeff is lost.

My car is lost; cannot get anywhere.

I am walking the streets of Sea Gate, naked to the waist:exposed. Nobody notices.

Won't someone in the world please help me?