Rachel Neve-Midbar

When I Found You, I Thought There Was Nothing Left, 2009
Photomontage. Liz Huston.

On the Third Day


Were the Junipers Syrian then? Who knows. But they curled their heavy limbs over the pond exactly when we needed them. We were white and cream without our clothes to protect us and the rocks sprouted green, ivy falling from every impenetrable place—stone, mold or even the rank breath of middle age, and the birds called as they flew away from the tangles of our hair as we dipped our heads under, every barrier removed, even earrings, even chains, and the water was as soft as dawn. It was dawn. The green had creeped into the spring, into the budding Junipers who ruled below the sky as we seeped into the deep of it. I slipped past fish and frogs and melted into a flash of algae. I photosynthesized. I kissed my mouth open to the green and I sprouted.

Wayward Flier


October nights and a flock of cranes,

the clutter and murmur of their travel

with nowhere to settle,

not sand, not pebble, not the petal

of wings folded around a young one—

the worry of foxes who already

are darkening to match the hills’

deep decay of rain, a dun shade

of dusk almost unseen. Where is grace

then, leaden, unknown-- and why?

You say maybe you weren’t ready,

but neither was I, and I,

like all abandoned and wayward fliers,

can only look back

at the way your black body held me

to the earth, sure that fear wasn’t enough

to know in which direction the sun set,

the quiver of a bird lost on your palm,

or to see how they swoop in and out

of my poems where they perch sometimes,

just long enough to catch their breath.

Watch as I fly away from every compass,

toward the sun’s sweet heat

and a world blurred from brown to blue,

unleashed to the question: what

became of me without you,

deflocked and spread, as lost as a faded star

or a moon still uneven and crouched

somewhere in the sun’s backdrop?