Sunday, 9 September 2012

Mother Psalm 8 by Rachel Barenblat

When all else fails, a stroll will put you to sleep.
We walk beneath trees still mostly green, here
and there a branch burst into purple flame, until
Whole Foods looms glossy at the sidewalk's end.
We load into the basket beneath your sleeping form
a pumpkin and a gourd hooked like a swan's neck.
All the way there my sister and I talk about marriage
and I wonder with whom you'll walk like this someday
remembering aloud the house you grew up in, our
spiral staircases, the boxes of dolls in the basement.
The minute we stop, you wake; I pepper your head
with kisses, try to adjust your already-drooping socks.
It's autumn in Newton. My muddy iced coffee is the last
of the season. Little man, you can move yourself now
across the floor with intent, though you pause and sit
contemplating whether the ball that's rolled away
is worth the effort of the journey. It's always worth
the effort of the journey: the ball, the book, the child
you may someday try to raise, as clueless as we.
Make your way across the room. Pluck sweetness
from every interaction, extract smiles from strangers.
Go get it: we're cheering each painstaking step you take.

Rachel Barenblat, MA, USA


Crafty Green Poet said...

Rachel says: My first book-length collection of poems, 70 faces, was published by Phoenicia Publishing in January of last year. 70 faces is a collection of poems written in response to Torah. I am also author of four chapbooks of poetry, and my poems have appeared in a variety of magazines and anthologies, among them Phoebe, The Jewish Women's Literary Annual, and The New Orleans Review.

I hold an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars, and was ordained as a rabbi by ALEPH: the Alliance for Jewish Renewal. Today I serve a small congregation in North Adams; in my spare time I'm a contributing editor for Zeek, a Jewish journal of thought and culture. I live in western Massachusetts with my husband and our son.

Peg Duthie said...

Vivid and tender -- I feel like I'm seeing you and the kid in person when I read this.