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Posts Tagged ‘Marjorie Stamm Rosenfeld’

A Contemplation of Surgery

August 29, 2012 1 comment

by Marjorie Stamm Rosenfeld

 

Old eye. A window and its pane. Whether
what clouds it now is cataracts or grief: the Knife.
Clean swipe. The pane, the pain. Then clarity.

*

Marjorie Stamm Rosenfeld is a former missile analyst and university press editor and English instructor who has done poetry therapy with forensic patients and has made Web sites on perished Jewish communities in Europe. Her poetry has been published nationally and internationally in journals and anthologies such as Southwest Review, Nimrod, Rosebud, and Margie as well as at various sites on the Web.

Letters to My Father

November 28, 2009 1 comment

by Marjorie Stamm Rosenfeld

Each one had to be edited,
every ambiguous word excised.
How pungent words were!
My mother’s eyes
traveled the page —
down, up, left, right,
regimenting each line.
Mustn’t offend him.
Mustn’t say
something he might mistake.
If I spoke of an ocean voyage,
described myself as putting out —
my God, I’d named myself a harlot!
I made promises, took oaths.
Oaths became curses
in the crinkles of his mind.
He was a wordsmith too. His hand —
the right one — blessed,
pulled its object close.
The sinister left one
drove the sculpting stiletto in.
After him, how could I trust
tenderness? The best he gave me
was when he called me a cat,
said if you dropped me
from the 7th story,
I’d land on my feet.
No small feat that!
Thanks, Dad, for my sense
of ambiguous language.
Thanks, even, for the thumps
on my wet clay that felt like blows.
Your hand crafting finished me.
I am your best poem.
Read me.

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Marjorie Stamm Rosenfeld has been published both nationally and internationally in journals, books, and anthologies and on the Internet. A former SMU Press editor, SMU English instructor, and Navy missile analyst, she has also done poetry therapy with forensic patients at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and has made and maintains three websites for JewishGen on perished Jewish communities in Eastern Europe.

Epitaph

December 18, 2008 Comments off

 

for Samuel Oliner

In Bobowa, the town
whose name sounds like a stutter,
he lay on the roof all day, under the sun
that shines on man and beast without distinction.
Over his body, boards, trash. Garbage
over sporadic sun-lit strands of yellow hair
where he hid. Only his head might save him.
What could a 12-year-old discern
of God’s dark purposes, or the whims of men,
the stutter of guns from nearby woods
where pink-cheeked German boys
were following orders?

When he thinks
of them… mother: gone;
father, grandfather, taken… the story
sticks in his throat, his palate
thick as fur of the rabbit
whose neck he wrung, his mouth
full of the feathers of small birds,
feasts of the famished. Now,
he alone, how can he tell?
He burns with the acid
poured on their bones.
He names their sacred names
with a stutter.

 

by Marjorie Stamm Rosenfeld

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Response to an Invitation

November 4, 2008 3 comments

The City is celebrating its 420th birthday with speeches, dancing, good Lithuanian food and alus (beer). The Vice Mayor has asked that all former residents be invited home on this special day.

Consider the spaces between trees.
This is how you get to the forest, where you dug down
until the ground got warm, fashioned a door
out of branches, leaves for disguise. You have to start
while the dirt’s still soft, make no sound—
only the thug-thug of the stolen shovel, its iron haft
biting the heel of your hand, lie down in dirt,
eat the brown slop of your Mother, Lithuanian soil.
If you go deep, you can survive the winter
to emerge later, moonstruck, under a shower
of night-blooming stars.

Meanwhile, there were the lakes.
Litvaks, even displaced, paint these lakes,
longing for Homeland. Blue lakes, serene, still.
All that gleaming water, looking for the world
as if there were nothing to be dredged up
in spite of these lifetimes of fear, words—
my flat ocean of tears. You ask

how long till I cease this weeping. I tell you,
Never is not long enough.

by Marjorie Stamm Rosenfeld

Gray Cheek

September 12, 2008 3 comments

She leans toward me.
Wings clipped, she is endangered
in a different way — leans so strongly
I am afraid she may topple, thud to the floor.

Last week, on my usual walk along the beach,
I saw the back of a man who sat on a bench above,
almost a dozen birds arrayed on the rail behind him.
Undoubtedly, the man must have had crumbs. Undoubtedly,
there must have been a phalanx of birds I couldn’t see
parading around his feet, feeding his hunger.

I am not the person who feeds my daughter’s bird.
Yet the bird craves me with an inexplicable love.
She has forgotten flight, the green forest, monkey chatter,
the rush of crystal cascades through mossy crevices — longs now
for motor rides, for melting ice cream sipped from a spoon.
I think she is considering how she can speak to me
in my language. She dreams of my shoulder,
of thrusting her feathered head
snugly into the hollow behind my ear.

I dream of growing wings.

by Marjorie Stamm Rosenfeld

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