Two Poems

By Jane Medved

Jephthah’s daughter weeps with her friends, even though 
the Sages tell him he doesn’t have to do this

The moon has a face, even the angels are shaped 
like men, then dispatched upwards, taking their advice 
with them. Now, I am the botched emissary. 

Victory is the Lord’s and everything else, leaving me 
this necklace of hands, links in a promise, grimaces 
in a sentence. We are discussing who gets a name: 

the wife of, the daughter of, a certain harlot, not
a sound wasted. Add me to the list of famous 
ones who cried. Sisera’s mother, the pointed horn 

of ram, for what is more beautiful than an animal 
who can escape its own letters. I am the gift 
of getting what you asked for, the vow unleashed, 

the signal to the flock it’s time to break free, 
wind from the pit, flame from the chokehold, 
arrow from the battle, rising alone, motherless, true. 

I am sentimental about summer 

whose fruit turns rotten 
before I can eat it, even 
those flattened out 
peaches that are mostly pit, 
after four thousand years 
of cultivation, you’d think 
they’d toughen up, 
and the plums, barely 
making it to the cake pan, 
the batter smeared 
with the agony of their juices, 
or the apricots like tiny 
baby bottoms that I pinch 
until they bruise, all sugary 
promise decomposing, 
it is the nosegay of flies 
that alerts me, 
rising from the painted 
bowl I commissioned 
in the Armenian quarter, 
whose glazing process 
recreates antiquity, 
another term for something 
that survived, usually 
of value, owned now by me.  

Photo by Frida Aguilar Estrada