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Note to My Sister from Notre Dame

By Fleda Brown Poetry

It didn’t help that the boys are Jewish, and the stone angels only clumsy halfway- hoverers, not as smart as electrons, quarks, or strings that turn like dazed rubber bands in a breeze. It didn’t help that we’d walked all over Paris first. Still, the rose window entered them: a complication, a shattering of light.…

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Notre Dame

By Fleda Brown Poetry

A shape less recognizable each week, A purpose more obscure. ________—Philip Larkin, “Church Going” In spite of fundamentalists, it keeps on being true, what Larkin said. I’m walking through with my Jewish daughter and her three boys, the stone and glass saying not a word to make any of us believe, but I’m seeing the…

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The Bar Mitzvah

By Fleda Brown Poetry

_____The row of goyim, that’s us, family of half the family, those who don’t talk of Israel at dinner, here because of fate, because of the strangeness of our children, because of this grandchild in his tallis, his kippot, words we read the leaflet to know. We watch the Torah lifted from its rainbow tomb,…

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Learning the Crawl

By Fleda Brown Poetry

“There’s been a bloody murder out there.” J. points to the flung ring of feathers in the snow between houses, a bluish semitransparent sunkenness in the middle, a surprisingly beautiful swimming-pool color. I think swimming pool because at my age, I’ve learned to swim a decent crawl (I watched five YouTube videos for technique, how…

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Houghton Lake

By Fleda Brown Poetry

You can’t get away from pain, or your sister in pain, or the terrible wide doors of the handicap room. It will break your heart, the way she walks in the easy hotel pool, and then takes up her cane, to shuffle from chair to bed. We’ve picked two days halfway between our towns, to…

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Every Day I Touch Things

By Fleda Brown Poetry

Autumn came before I realized.                Sharpness flew up like gull-cries, the swan turned upside down in the water, pulling up grass,                rolling its big hips upward, which made me wonder if words are necessary for pleasure, if                without them, sparkles on the water would be useless baubles. I have so many of…

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Tiny Fish

By Fleda Brown Poetry

The children fish off the dock where the minnow-sized ones hover oblivious to the hook jutting from the badly threaded worm. The water’s clear enough to watch victims gather at the bait. One after the other, hauled in, tallied up, tossed back. When the hook goes deep into the throat, they give the tiny fish…

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