The Scroll is adding to our poetry output with Scroll Verse, a recurring feature that introduces the works of Jewish poets–or in some cases, poets who write on Tablet themes or have Jewish souls. Last week’s excellent poem was “More People than Trees” by Amelia Cohen-Levy. Our latest installment features a prose poem by Talia Lavin.
You can fall in love with the empty air between your palms, knowing it makes the sound of applause. With a brass goose hung on the wall of a stranger’s foyer. With the sound of a pane of glass shattering. With a pear on a blue plate. With a ticket to Russia (one way, Moskvu-Kirov). With a cuneiform tablet you saw in the Drashovski Museum. With the foreign grammar of your lover’s body, his sleeping haunches cut off by the sheets like an indecipherable clause. With a desire to roll him in dried mango and clover leaf. With forbidden cigarette smoke on a bookstore stoop. A cephalopod in a glass case. A cassette tape, unspooled. A dirty ewer of rainwater. A hamburger: God bless the intrepid that fall in love with hamburgers! With a murderer in a story. With a burglar at your doorstep. With a set of keys. With a black coat (or the woman in it). The three familiar brushstrokes of an artist’s signature. A half-finished essay. A particular hour of the night you never meant to reach. A hand-press. The odors of an unfamiliar body. With ten days of rain. You can fall in love: the brass goose will open its mouth and sing to you. The ticket will sit in your hand like a glass dove. The artist will sign your name on his next painting. Your lover’s odors will smother your understanding. You will watch the sunset out of a train window and forget your own name, but you will not forget this. A smell of mango and sweat. A dirty ewer of air: your two palms held up, open, ready to take a burden of smoke, of light.
Talia Levin is a recent Harvard graduate and a Fulbright scholar. Her work has appeared in Jewcy, The Forward, and The Gamut.