Selected Published Poems  

 by Lisa Grunberger 

A story about the letter "J"

                                               

I had to stop here and there in order by resting to allow my Jewishness to collect itself.

     

                              Franz Kafka, Diaries, November 1, 1911

A “J” spray painted

on my olive-green house in South Philly––

its white-hooked tail grazes my daughter's head.

A skinhead, says my neighbor Jorge,

un racist blanco, no entiendo,

holding my hand inside his hand

far longer than any gringo would.

He smells of sawdust and cologne.

I shoot a picture with my phone

of my daughter underneath the J.

Evidence is always good to gather.

She traces the letter with her small finger.

She’s just learning about how letters

make words, and words make sentences.

Doesn’t yet know sentences can kill:

Arbeit macht frei. Sentences can lie:

Make America Great Again. Sentences

can heal: I have a dream. She’s fished a pen

from my bag and draws a K beside the J.

A new story begins. Across the street

Mozart seeps out of the second story,

Twelve year-old Anita from China,

Jorge and I look up, as if music were something

to be seen––as though it were something

we could hold on to. I’ll paint for you,

says Jorge solemnly. It will be like new,

like it never happened.

Figaro, Harry and Me, Nothing Something

Poems in Translation

Poems in Slovenian (in Dialogi, translated by Kristina Kocan)  

 "running and returning" 32 poems to carry the Voice

   Limited edition, calligraphy by Izzy Pludwinski