Jewish Geography as According to Aunt L

by Rhiannon McGavin

Of course I know. Ask me anything. My
home planet dangles off a branch beyond
the canopy. Crack it open and each
mouth swallows the word for sky and heaven
both. Call my name and half the women at
the party turn around. Turn the map facedown,
now it’s a tablecloth. Here is a park
bench where your grandfather once had stopped to
double-knot up his shoes. Here is someone’s
cousin spinning with spread arms, ruby juice
dry on her chin. You will find in some towns
dinner and an argument and people
sneezing with their full bodies. New Year’s cards
sent through this country of sudden noises,
like stones lining a garden path, like a
marble staircase worn down in the middle
until each step is a cupped hand also.
My home planet, you can fit in your pocket.
We move, we move, atoms rock back and forth
in place, in prayer, light after light becomes
honey on the skin, rose petals thick as ash, scattered
on a river. Where you touch, sweetness, wheels
of fire. The front door of the temple
laughs open. Next week, a wedding. Who’s dead?

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