I said is it true? we are sisters?
They said Yes, we are of one family
– Grace Paley, from “That Country”
My names, tell you my names?
Wandering Jew. Reaching for the light.
Hot sleeper night sweats perimenopause
or do I just run fitful dream-laden?
Juniper as a child, but only if
you were my mother.
Strong for a dozen or so years,
that one my children carry now,
though I see the Schwartz chin,
the nose, sometimes the brow
that raises higher than the other.
Collector of gems and jewels and words.
Jack of all trades, master of one.
Coffee-streaked porcelain mug
with the birds on a branch
and the man on wire,
the high derring-do of sitting here
at home writing on a Monday morning–
that is my name, she who lets go,
steps out, stares down at all that traffic
wondering what she has done,
she who gathers herself
back and in and unfurls and curls up
in a ball and recedes and rolls in,
not imitating but in sync
with moon with tide with current
and diving down into the big waves,
learns to swim and survive and sing
because over that crash no one
is listening in, and I am the nameless
one under that great big Sky,
that wide open horizon that fills lungs
with breath and heart with faith
and a prayer is just standing here
even if it’s in my mind’s eye,
no more or less real
than if I was really there. My name
is I Am Really Here. My name is
Call Me Maybe Dance Party
Make It Up As I Go. My name is Hot
Mama hip-swaying daughter of the ages
that delivered me to this life
like so many midwives.
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