Selected Published Poems
by Lisa Grunberger
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.
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