Summer 2016 - THE POTOMAC

Three Poems

Zackary Sholem Berger



I embrace certain certainties
unsure which to love.
Leaning on my horn at Stop & Go, neurons hanging fire
legs and guts awaiting
cortical orders.

Peace and Health throw colored veils
over shards. Together
we are seeking the most least truth

That well which least contaminates our ends,
the wale which we will, ending,
wind upon.



You quivering wave on Mediterranean shores,
Don't tell me you're a wave — pink glow, blowing, demise.
You belong to me. Among the collection of my selves.
I suppose you were in disguise. A wave, who's an actor!

So many waves. But you're like none of them
and if a demon wave were to clap you in chains
you'd come to kneel on Mediterranean shores
as only my heavenward silence controls you.

I dreamed you right out of the grave, to bring
seven green leaves from the blossoming life tree.
Now you're redeemed from the wide and narrow
you bring me life eternal: like Eden and gladly.

I'll put it in my garden,
between parted lips, to relieve the pain,
see the vision of tomorrow donning today
and children, children's children sharing in my lips.

          From Diary Poems by Avrom Sutzkever,
          translated from the Yiddish



Explain it? Explain it how?
The sun didn't turn colder,
but she won't melt tears
and only childhood gets no older.

Youth, her brother, was trampled
like red grapes in the cellar.
The shadow's hair turns silver
and only childhood gets no older.

Her snows and her violets
are not to be had for gold.
Her king grows old, as does his kingdom
and only childhood gets no older.

          From Diary Poems by Avrom Sutzkever,
          translated from the Yiddish

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