The 2River View 19.2 (Winter 2015)

Joy Ladin

Radio Haiti

Reporter describes
earthquake-broken girl of five
in a broken deck chair, dying.

“Her lips,” he says, “keep shaking.”
It isn't news, but he can't stop watching
the girl's lips quake like fault-line.

I want him to pester
the government and God
her dying represents,

to pin and fix the quaking world
with morality, tragedy,
blame. Blame

anyone, anything, I tell him,
but change the subject
before her lips stop shaking.

My Father’s Pain

It’s time to talk about his pain,
the pain of a point
moving at right angles to itself
acquiring length and breadth and depth

as some points do,
my father explained—I was seven—
drawing one, two, three, four dimensions
on a scrap of yellow paper.

My father was in pain. The point of his pain
had become a plane
as it moved through him
at right angles to itself. I sat in his lap,

his pain moving through me
at right angles,
acquiring a fourth dimension.
“Time” he said, drawing angles and arrows

on his scrap of yellow paper.
I didn’t need his explanation.
Time was inside me, a dimension of pain
moving at right angles to itself

from generation to generation.

Joy Ladin has published six books of poetry, including Lambda Literary Award finalist Transmigration; her seventh, Impersonation, is due out in spring 2015. Her memoir, Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders, was a 2012 National Jewish Book Award finalist. Ladin holds the Gottesman Chair in English at Yeshiva University. contactLadin @ On Being

« Mia Eriksson Estanislao Lopez »