Leaves are gone or barely hanging on:
warm, it has been so warm.
Tables outdoors, coffee under umbrellas,
desert winds that cheat December,
denying winter.
Newspapers warn of dryness,
the aquifers drawing up the earth’s poisons.
We have reached the bottoms of our wells;
one dare not draw so deep.

There is a price for any warm sweet interlude.
My daughter, dressed in black,
but mourning nothing,
tosses her untamed hair
at fear, at all my hints of doom.
Nothing can convince her:
not kitchen knives waiting to lash out at us
like serpent’s tongues,
not the foretelling of gases (nerve, mustard, poison),
descending like rain from the inscrutable skies.

Perhaps of late I am too easily convinced
to pray for rain.

A familiar chill sets in;
the air is laden with the smell
of earth’s deep moist need
and the scent of endings.

Reena Ribalow's picture

I am a poet and writer living in Jerusalem. I have won first prize in the Moment Magazine Short Story Competition and in the Margaret Reid Poetry Prize. I was a finalist in both the short story and poetry competitions of Cutthroat magazine and had a story published there. I also won the Golden Prize and notable mention in the Stand Magazine Short Story Prize.I have been published in New York Quarterly, The Literary Review, Ariel, The Jerusalem Review, Shirim, The Jerusalem Post, Voices Israel, Israel Short Stories, Moment magazine and Cutthroat, among others.

Last updated May 28, 2011