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Fragment From A Nonexistent Yiddish Poet #34

Read by Van K. Brock

Ida Lewin (1906-1938)
AlwaysWinter, Poland

My mind grew quiet
like a house at dusk,
rooms black, except
for moonlight stroking walls.
Then sleep unlocked the door.
When sleep appeared, removed
its robe, and wrapped its arms
around my neck,
whispering plunder in my ear,
I even welcomed death
to snuggle down. When death
sistered itself to sleep,
not brusque, but coy and clever
as the start of fall —
signaled
by a first vermilion leaf,
a chill against my cheek —
then the sky opened like a box
too full of diamond stars.
When the stars reduced all nights
to a jar of stones,
gray pebbles in a hand,
then my mind could settle in
its house and still.

Jehanne Dubrow’s first full-length collection, After the Broken World, was selected as the winner of the 2007 Three Candles First Book Prize and will be published later this year. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, New England Review, Shenandoah, and Gulf Coast, among other publications. She is currently pursuing a PhD in English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.