Is There Anywhere You
Wouldn’t Go Alone?

Leah Falk

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I visit strangers in their houses,
tape them telling how they got here. Museum
               of the voice,

a clean brook coursing over artifacts
of a burned house, objects
               that have lost their homes.

Tell me about your decision to move to Israel— 
               (shallow bowls used for offerings at home,
               some with handles shaped like spines or noses)

Did you grow up in a Zionist home?
               You shall mortify yourselves (the text burned off)
               (Holes in the tract of Thanksgiving)

Describe your first impressions.
               A horned lake        A bird’s beak
               Before the meat the priest says grace
               first the little letters, then the Lord

How did your family react?
               Facsimile of the scroll of the war of the sons of light
               against the sons of darkness: tracts of land
               over millennia slowly float apart

               as the path the courier took from page
               to page is scrubbed away. In the dim

               corridor, slivers from century one. A slit in the skin
               of what we don’t know.

Do you still have family in America?

               Do you still have family in _______?

Do you still have _______ in America? Do you still

               have_____ in _______?

Describe your neighborhood.
               I come from New York. There’s something for everyone here.
               I can say that.

Describe your neighborhood.
               When I was eleven, my parents said,
               “We’re going to the land of the Jews.”

Is there anywhere you wouldn’t go alone?
               It could be any city in the world.
               Deep in the dew, my heart is beating.

How long have you lived here?
               A rag ripped from the hem of a dress
               that I tie to a rope braided with millions of other rags.

How long have you lived here?
               I have to be able to leave this country
               on a moment’s notice.

Is there anywhere you wouldn’t go alone?
               No. No.

Read more poetry from the Spring 2013 issue by downloading the free Amazon digest version of The Kenyon Review here.

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