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