Faye Moskowitz

Woman’s Home

Spring has come
To the Baptist Home
For Women. On the lawn
Are spread the spare
Possessions of the winter’s
Dead. Beds of iron or brass
Press spindly legs through
Sodden grass, while on one
Headboard, an inch worm
Climbs toward the narrow
Mattress, where jagged stains,
In tones of weathered bone,
Blurt out the secret of incontinence.
I hesitate between a crazed plate
And a sealed trunk marked in gilt
A.J. The auctioneer in cowboy gear
Taps the mic to see if he has power.
“You think long; you think wrong”
The sealed box wins. On my knees
In the soft sod, I lay claim
to all that’s left of one
Who never knew my name.
Immigrants’ child. Amateur ghoul.
Robbing graves
To decorate my rooms,
We acquired the land
Second hand. We bargain
For our heirlooms. Ada Jenkins
Sleep at last. Forgive this fumbling
Guest who tenderly disturbs
Your dust to buy herself a past.

Faye Moskowitz is the author of Peace in the House: Tales from a Yiddish Kitchen (David R. Godine, 2003), And the Bridge is Love: Life Stories (Beacon Press, 1991), Whoever Finds This, I Love You (David R. Godine, 1988), and A Leak in the Heart: Tales from a Woman's Life (David R. Godine, 1985), and editor of the anthology Her Face in the Mirror: Jewish Women on Mothers and Daughters (Beacon Press, 1994). She is a Professor Emerita in English and Creative Writing at the George Washington University.