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  • Dusha
  • Claudia M. Reder (bio)

Philadelphia had ice storms,but no troikas.        My husband slide/slips like Charlie Chaplinon black ice        holding an umbrella over his headwhile ice pop-pops like popcorn        off its brisk surface            on his way to work.My grandmother—        emigrated 1939,nee Russian,        who spoke five languageswas documented as "Yiddish"on her arrival at Ellis Island.

Somehow she managedto bring her familyand a samovar [End Page 91] that would survive        even the closing of the Russian Tea Room (NYC)(Thank God she wasn't here to see it, said her daughter/my mother)

On entering a crowded roomshe would soft sigh, "Aah" meaning        Souls are present,

        a connection among people        as in a marriagewhere 1 + 1 + marriage = an equilateral vortex.

Above her a horse grazes in a field of lovers.Chagall asks a bird to fly over the lovers.He asks the color blue to outline the bird'sheart.

I, the granddaughter, am the girl on the white horseflying over the small houses        between wet and dry paint        between     present and future.

        Because I am at home in the air        because in dreams I am not afraid of heights        because I speak only one language wellbecause Rothko did not title his paintings#?I scan the wall in my mind to select which elusive shimmerI want to share. It feels like this oneI say:

Like a hologram, it appears every so often        like a floater in my eye.

Listen to laughter, my grandmother would chortle.Notice the quirky lift of the thick left eyebrow.Ach yes, the mouth. [End Page 92] The story is in the shape of that person's mouthThen she toasts L'Chaim with a glass of teawhose vibrato will last

into late autumnlike a fleeting meeting of souls. [End Page 93]

Claudia M. Reder

Claudia M. Reder's book of poems is My Father and Miro and Other Poems (Bright Hill Press, 2001). A poem, "How to Braid Challah," won first prize in the Charlotte Newberger Poetry Prize from Lilith Magazine. She teaches at California State University at Channel Islands, and loves helping people tell their stories, ages five to ninety-five. Reder sees poetry as an intersection of language, her Jewish heritage, and spirituality. You can reach Claudia at



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pp. 91-93
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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Archived 2012
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