A poem without deleting
is maybe a more careful thing
a little halting

i find that poems come trippingly
tumbling out then shredding
upart and remaking bits of themselves

or they don’t come at all

only this time the poem comes
all forward and if you write
the wrong vowel surprise
it’s the right vowel now


The drive is beautiful
staggering views of trees
mostly still bare and brown
with dark green conifers for emphasis

I wonder if I will ever lose the tendency
of looking out at such a vista
and wishing for a different season
to dress the trees up just a bit

We leave the car eventually, and walk
and there are snowdrops and the leaves of something
I hope vaguely might be ramps

the rhododendron blossoms are still tight green buds

they look like grenades
waiting, like me
ready for summer’s bright explosions


It was the sort of April day
where you know the flowers
won’t be the worse for the weather
(cold and spitting small rain)
but you are


I suppose I must have been eleven
and that being eleven must have been, somehow, twenty years ago
because I remember, vaguely, being in school
on a warm day, the trees outside the window blossoming
and hearing that a nation was founded fifty years before

When I was eleven, my father was fifty-one
which means he was one year old when Israel was born
and it was five years old when he moved there
and when he was eleven, that was where he lived

I have never been to Israel
which the news tells me is now celebrating seventy
my father just celebrated seventy-one, in November
which means either my math is off
or months are playing tricks with years

Dad moved back to the States when he was thirteen
and Israel was, say, eleven
and when my father was eighteen or so
Israel lost his faith and heart
and gained a small strip of land across the river

It’s tough to know what it is that I am
or who my Dad is, or what Israel means to us
and how that binds and separates us from each other
and from other people

My heart’s home will never be in a nation
that invades other nations
but I’ve learned a lot about what trauma can do
and known others who felt the need to stay armed
and alert, and make sure the world saw them strong
and who felt owed for what they’d been through
and I don’t know that it’s my place
to say they’re wrong

But it’s not how I think about healing

I think I want to go to Israel

I want to go there with my dad
and learn what it was like when he was six
and when he was eleven
and when he was eighteen, or nineteen
and when he was thirty-one, as well

I care about my father
much more than I care
about Israel


I went to a greenhouse on my own today
which seems like the sort of thing
you might do
but you would know the names of the plants
or at least make better guesses

It was cold, and I walked fast
from the greenhouse to the grocery store
where I shopped with a list
that I wrote down by hand
after I sat and planned the meals for the week

Dad thinks no one does that anymore
but in fact it’s very trendy right now

Was there ever a trend you gave a damn about?

Probably. I suspect you were more
self conscious than I am, most of the time

But no one would guess it

For years I thought your preferences were mine
because they are, so often
I was proved wrong by bougainvillea
blossoming a bright red-purple-pink
that you say is your least favorite color

Mother, I love it

But I would never, ever wear that color on my body
we may not be the very same
but we are not that different yet


Watching a Youtube video
about women trying on one-size-fits-all clothes

I am suddenly overcome by the infinite diversity
there are so many variables to women’s bodies

each pixel-worth of skin a wealth of choices
both her own and the universe’s


We stand in the window
and point to trees
this street, one street over
two streets over

who is starting to bud?
who’s leave’s are coming in?

we should go out and greet them
we say

and we marvel at their height
and generosity


We don’t know why we march
or what is worth marching for
but marching is better
than sitting at home
and gives you a good view
of the new buds on the trees

the magnolias are blossoming
the sun is positively hot
it will rain tomorrow
and I’m not sure what’s going on here
but I’m glad that I came out



After tonight,
I will hear no ill-word said
against the assembled body
of machine-learning,
data-scientific and
biostatistical academics

At least not this assembled body.

Not one cold shoulder
not one snide word
and no one seemed to assume
they were smarter than anyone else
including me.


It’s more than I can say
for some other assembled bodies
to which I have been party.

Those party were not as good as this party.
This party is awesome.