Academic journal article Field


Academic journal article Field


Article excerpt

1. Arches

Sha'ar p'takh dodi, he wrote, near the year one

thousand, in Saragossa, despairing in the citrus

and pools of a walled courtyard, his Israel calls:

open the gate, my love, get up and open-

eight lines locking like arches around the grief

of exile. As in: Cordova, the sound of a door

leaning into the air, cindered, after his people fled

the Judería, his father among them. Open the gate:

2. State Developmental Center, Stockton, CA

The smell of the halls, a floor soap they must use only in the build-

ings where people are discarded: a violent clean smell like a decay-

ing body layered with perfume. Vinyl tile flooring, painted concrete-

block walls; the aggressive scent following us to her ward's entrance.

A heavy steel door, wire-mesh laces the viewing-glass. Against

which, first to respond to the buzzer's abrasion, two or three of their

faces press: wet with drool or mucous, eyes thick, mouths askew with

their various conditions. As soon as the orderly with the ring of keys

lets us in, they close around us. They talk over each other gummily, re-

peating their five- or two-word stories, trying to meet our eyes.

3. God heard

For my spirit is terrified, is taken with shaking:

like grasses in the roadside wind, or scarves

of kelp winding in tide. God heard the other

boy's cry, wrote Ibn Gabirol, and wandered

to Granada. …

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