Two poems from Marsha Pomerantz’s The God’s Honest Truth
followed by a note on the author
Saint Luke Paints the Virgin
As soon as his brush lifted,
the elixir of her withdrew,
leaving her mud in small
shaped phrases. He was
painting his desire to hold
her always and want her
never. I’d trade always for
an apple, said the assistant,
stroking the arc of a cheek as
his teeth marked minutes along
his lips. Holiness is separation,
pooling just beyond depiction
in a single swimming thought.
That Luke could ever get her
down was either blasphemy
or fantasy, and both options
beckoned. Know me, he heard her say.
Take my likeness, make me likely.
Madame Maman at the kitchen
table, in turban and curlers,
reading the cards. Clucks and sighs
suggest my stint on earth gets grim.
She won’t say how or why. Am I to be
enticed by diamonds, beaten by clubs,
smothered by hearts, buried by spades?
You’re a goner, she says, but slaps down
fate upon fate, frowning after another
future. She never turns this one up:
that, following suit, I too will
tell stories from a blank deck.
Marsha Pomerantz’s collection of poems, The Illustrated Edge, was published by Biblioasis in 2011; poems and essays have appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, berfrois.com, Best American Essays 2016, Boston Review, broadsidedpress.org, Harvard Review, Literary Review, Parnassus, PN Review, Raritan, and Salamander. Selections and a statement of poetics are at poetrynet.org. The artist’s book They Run, made from her poem of that title by Claire Illouz (Chérence, France), appeared in 2016: www.claire-illouz.com. Her translations from the Hebrew include poetry and fiction.
“Saint Luke Paints the Virgin” first appeared in Raritan; “Fortune” first appeared in Salamander.