Rena Rossner

 
In Media Res
 
if I stand in a tribe of goats
with thistles swaying in prayer
and squint to bring the daylight
moon in focus, I know I’ll never
find you in Jerusalem you are
forever leaving something, night,
sleep, darkness, love, a poem
 
left behind that wandered, found
and stopped its trek, mid-song
amid the doves that nestle in the
stones here, where water costs
more than a plane ticket and a
century can pass on camelback,
where foreign tongues shroud your
 
face, your fingers burnt by tea, a
siren in the desert sounds, crowds
collect, locusts swarm, tender morsels,
dreams, lucid, interpreted, pour through
you like sandstorms, thirst is an oasis,
the way you stare, the moon your echo,
what the body remembers and how so
 
much can go unnoticed. Like the sand
between your toes at night, you don’t
know how it got there, and almonds
blossom, unexpectedly, that scent,
zaatar pinched between fingers,
persimmons ripe and rotten, the ruins
of the castle, the reddish clay
 
you grasp, and then release. Coffee,
bitter, dust-filled, nothing tastes the
same, and something always reminds
you, the door you thought was home,
the river that’s a phone, reflections on
pint glasses, tuborg, red, like caramel,
chocolate, you hear the bells of skype
 
sounds, every night the same, and
mornings, restful, quiet, lone, you step
into the backyard, ghosts and chickens
to be fed, and cats, always, gendarmes
at the siege, you start to name things,
touchstones, take them from the river,
where you bathe your past, large hands,
 
steady, stone-like, fused from sand
and shadow, this is what you’ve been
reduced to. The whistle of desire, pain
always with pleasure, the satin of a woman,
the middle, which is always a beginning
and an end, a poem, broken, winged, a goat
bleat of the heart, always wondering if