Marsha Pomerantz

Two poems from Marsha Pomerantz’s Gneiss
followed by a note on the author

The God’s Honest Truth

By saying so little about love
I was lying. That I didn’t know

what it was was the truth. When
I said all Cretans are liars I was

elsewhere in the archipelago,
fleeing home. When I said

I was living Zeno’s paradox,
that was half a lie. Even

as I confess, I’m stealing
glances at your ear, thinking

how can truth make all those
turns and reach another brain

intact? You know how molecules
of air have to race over the curve

of a wing to keep up with their
friends taking the straight path

below? That’s how we get lift.

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.

Marsha Pomerantz grew up in New York, lived in Israel for twenty years, and now lives in Boston. A collection of her poems, The Illustrated Edge, was published by Biblioasis in 2011, and poems and essays have appeared in/on Beloit Poetry Journal,, Boston Review, Harvard Review, Parnassus, Poetry Daily, PN Review, Raritan, Salamander, Verse Daily, and elsewhere. Translations from the Hebrew include a novel, short stories, and poems. Her writing has been supported by two residencies at the MacDowell Colony and a Massachusetts Cultural Council fellowship in poetry, and Gneiss was a finalist for the National Poetry Series in 2014. Work in journalism and museum publishing has kept her fed and fueled the poems; she retired in 2013 as managing editor at the Harvard Art Museums, and continues editing art books as a freelancer.

The God’s Honest Truth and Saint Luke Paints the Virgin first appeared in Raritan.