My mother observes
from above.
Strange that there are two of her.
One in the hospital bed
And one, in the corner
of the ceiling?
So distant
the desperate, disobedient pain.
Has it fled?
But she cannot see
herself anymore.
The doctors, so many,
are in the way.
And then she feels
the abated pain,
the sheets,
the trembling midwife’s hand
and hears my shrill newborn cry
for the first time.


I am the child that never cries.
I preserve myself outside the classroom
with dread.
So scared
So tired and weak
But not pathetic.
I will fight
I will not cry.
She salted my fright.
She pulled my ear.
She said I do not listen.
She said I am not welcome.
But I cannot see
I don’t know how to undo
what I do not know I did.
The bell rings.
The children jostle past me,
'she is not the right age for our class'
'she’s a baby.'
I am the outcast, but I will not cry.


I am eight.
My sister is a glittering graceful white queen.
I have a new big brother.
She entrusts me with her flowers.
They stand together
But I cannot see
And there is loud singing.
Everybody has gone.
It’s dark.
Where is my protector?
She left her flowers.
I stumble on the steps of the chuppa,
"OY you clumsy girl
You’re ruining the flowers."
I scramble up.
A woman I don’t know,
has insulted me and taken them
and once again
I have failed.
I am alone.


I am fourteen and I have a friend.
I have a friend.
My friend has lots of friends.
I am scared
of nothing,
of nobody.
I am restless.
I cannot see
the consequences.
I do not create,
I only destroy.
I am apathetic
But not pathetic.
And my friend’s friends
me, the former exile.
The one who was cast out
is now sought out.
I have a friend
and I believe I am happy.


It is my first day in seminary
I have chosen to come here
to rebel
against the devastation I have become.
This place is so foreign
to what I have always known.
But it is in this place
that confusion,
my constant companion,
abandons me.
Inside the classroom
I listen
I hear
I understand
as if I already know
what I have never heard before.
And yet I want to hear more.
I can hear.
I can see.
I can cry.