Two poems from Marsha Pomerantz’s Ravel and Cleave
followed by a note on the author
The Witch Ruminates in her Woodland Grave
Cut white birch above me scatters like bones down the road, sleeved in
bark that ribbons around rot. But my dead mind lights like swamp gas,
my dead belly brims. Gretel, grown into a hausfrau, by now would be
dressing drumsticks in paper frills and marching trussed fowl to the table.
Unhungry, she would like that food consumes the day, would see no
faces at the window, as I did, the two little ones, eyeing peelings. With
my knife I liked to curl ribbon around gifts, the better to bind you, the
better to tear you open, my little sacrificial lambs. I sliced and saved my
Hansel’s ringlets to show the neighbor raptors how blond he was once,
how fine he would no longer be, inside of me. Ingestion was the only
way to keep the small dears near. Oh, that grosgrain life, tied tight
around nothing. My onion skin undone now, I am not yet digested by the
earth that hems me in. Pungent onion, I push hellward.
Really, this is just one
iteration of me. I am
often not this, turn autre
at frequent intervals, for
wildering swaths of time. I
won’t be pinned down, yet
blindly tack eternity to each
day like a tail on a donkey.
Remember the joke of jux-
taposition before you ever
heard that word? Should
my nose be a little to the
left? My left or yours?
disclaims before Joy: O
friends, not these sounds.
O friends, not these lines.
Only shapes wavering
into what comes next.
Let’s be glad.
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, quidditylit.org, 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. More at marshapomerantz.org.
Witch was published as a broadside with art by Amy Meissner, at broadsidedpress.org;
Author Photo was first published in Raritan.