In Yeshir Ev, I woke to shadow, lace.
fake flowers on the ceiling.
winter’s slate smoke, apple tea,
which tasted of sorrow, to bare feet
on concrete, the understanding I
would be leaving for much of my life.
In Yeshir Ev I woke to troubles more dense
than any I had known, the rule
of distance governing us all. Lose, and you
simply smoke more cigarettes, grind
your teeth at night, etc. I can hardly bear
to remember how happy I was.
Morning, a clinking of tinny bells,
a bomb exploding two streets away.
What did I think I would ever
keep? In the lobby, the major
domo in dusty red and gold braid
strolled through the dining room, turning
the crumbed tablecloths with a flick
of his wrist.
It took me too long to get quiet,
to see anything but blur in the trees,
the rabbit that hopped out under the bird feeder,
the twitching of the fledgling robin so
curious it almost came right up to him.
I was thinking of that game we played
when we were kids—silly string wrapped around
us until we were caught in a giant web;
if anyone moved the web trembled,
And of the terror of being linked by gigabytes
As opposed to rain or myth; I hadn’t
sat by myself in a garden for a long time.
I was bored at first, used to sights being
presented to me like dishes in a fancy
restaurant. The bench was wet, and the soil
beneath had a heady mushroom smell. Rain
dripped from the trees and onto my shirt
It took me a long time to breathe. Swallows
scissored as the sky muted. The puddles
silvered, and the rabbit twitched and vanished
into the hedge. I didn’t see where the robin
went. The worms spangled the lawn, some
dying right there on the wet pavement.
Sheila Black is the author of four poetry collections, most recently Iron, Ardent (Educe Press, 2017). Her poems have appeared in The New York Times, Poetry, The Spectacle, and elsewhere.