We had needed the mulch, so we lifted her carefully

with a rake handle and carried her to the warm grass

where she lay waiting for Spring. It was late April

and the snake was curled along the bag

waiting for sun to slice through the shed

windows and warm her sluggish blood.

When we looked for her again, she was gone.


The man who taught me

hummus secrets opened his restaurant.

My daughter and I are having dinner.

He remembers me and prepares for us

two heaping plates of Lebanese specialties. 

We sense his joy at having a place.

This young woman is somehow connected

to an infant I carried in a sling through

the sticky evenings of her first August. We’d walk

to the convenience store. I’d buy an ice cream,

rubbing some on her lips.

I don’t see her much.

Now she can walk to the store herself.

Occasionally, she buys her own ice cream.

Tonight we are sharing this meal.


What is holy ground?

Jogging through town this morning,

I see children waiting for the bus.

Another summer has passed.

The girls all have ropes and are jumping

as fast as they can. One trips.

They all scream with laughter.

 Washington Grove Early Autumn -- Dennis M. Kirschbaum

Washington Grove Early Autumn -- Dennis M. Kirschbaum


Autumn is a liturgy of rain.

I wake in the night to a tekiah of thunder.

“Who by earthquake and who by hurricane?”

“Who by fire and who by water?”

A river finds its way along the alleys,

comes at last to a dam choked with yellow leaves.

Beyond, a frozen pond waits patiently.



Next Wednesday is the birthday of the world

and mine. I will stand in shul and feel the shofar blast,

a wake up call from God. You have only

this hour, this moment, she says. Today,

is a tender gift I give you each morning.


What if we knew our only purpose is

to bring the Shechinah to earth,

to join our dark souls

to her light without end?

Would we shed our shoes like a skin

to stand a moment before her flame?


from Clattering East

AuthorDennis Kirschbaum