Tuesday, July 26, 2016


Here's a poem, today--with his permission--by Morrie Warshawski. A number of the boyhood memories I have received for my collection have to do with mothers. This is a particularly moving one. The reference to the "witness" who "never forgets" gives the poem an historical context, adding a poignant temporal perspective to the immediacy of the moment.

Sonia at 32

The lady never shakes free the ashes
of the dead. Dark clouds.
Dark cauliflower fists.
A birdbath full of urine. The fish

bladder that bubbles up and
bounces in the sink. I climb
the cherry tree for her this year,
Watch the large rats dart

into the basement below, and
carry 5-gallon jars of fresh
clover honey up rickety
back stairs. This lady is

the witness who never forgets.
She hangs wet wash on the
line in a stiff wind against
a background of dust. She yells

at the dog catcher and cuts
chicken to the bone. She cries
long distance about this and
that. About the little man

who is her son. The little
son who is her husband. Over
and over she sings the song
her dead brother hummed hiding

behind their house, and holds

each breath as if to say, “Don’t Shoot!”

---Morrie Warshawski

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