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Poems from Gail Fishman Gerwin workshop

01/26/2016 10:43:32 AM


On January 9, Congregation Beth Hatikvah members had a workshop with poet Gail Fishman Gerwin who guided us in writing poems about our “Kinfolk.”  Checkout some of the poems below - 

Sponge Cake

By Cindy Slavin

Sitting on the floor of my grandmother's den,

the Tall Sponge Cake Towered Over Me.

The empty carton in the kitchen trash was proof

of the dozen eggs now sponging in the cake.


Scattered around me on the beige carpeted floor

lay the wooden Lincoln Logs I emptied from the 

big tin canister nestled in the corner of Grandma's closet.

It's home within a home between my frequent visits.


I'd line up the logs in rows, looking like soldiers standing at attention.

Then my building began--a fort, a cabin, whatever I felt like that day.

All done with this one, I'd smile at my structure before I'd knock it down,

as the soft Sponge Cake left the room to its final destination.


The Man in the Mirror

By Julia Malaga

Grandma told a story.  A funny story.

In the middle of the night, you sat upright

saw your reflection in the mirror she moved earlier that day.

You yelled - Who’s there!?

She laughed and told you to go back to sleep.

We laughed and thought it was a funny story.


But did you really think it was funny?  That night.

When you saw yourself in the dark.

Did you know who he was?

Did he scare you?

Did you recognize him at all?

Did you go back to sleep with a chuckle or did it keep you awake?

Scared of the man in the mirror.


Did you scare him?  the man in the mirror?

Did he go back to sleep with a chuckle?

Did his wife tell the story to his grandchildren?


By Richard Cimino

Ugh, what time is it?

I don't see the sun -

Just beady eyes, staring at me from the shelf.

"Feed me, human" they whisper in the dark.


Stillness, snoring next-door

Meanwhile, I toss and turn.

Slowly my thoughts recede...


Tiny paw prints tap dancing on my head,

Staring at the ceiling - is it time yet?

I struggle to close my eyes.


It'll never work, you know.

It's hopeless - just forget it!


Modeh ani...


The Visit

By Tammy Resnikoff

We drive to her, she can’t come to us

Three girls to visit the fourth

May not happen again

Bright lights of the nursing home greet us

Television blaring Jeopardy

Fills the silent void

Nurses smile at us

There she is, in her chair, looking so small

Staring into space, eyes glossing over us

We greet her loudly, hoping for recognition

Daughter, Granddaughter, and Great Granddaughter, the baby in my arms

 Watching the tiny hand touch the wrinkled flesh brings me to tears

The four generations of women to meet just once

The oldest and youngest are not aware, and will not remember

But I smile at my mother and squeeze her hand

And know we won’t forget


We Sit at the Table

By Rabbi Hannah Orden

We sit at the table

cold slab of marble

my mother’s idea of home.


We sit at the table

cousins like sisters

best friends from birth.


We sit at the table

choosing and sorting

so many lives.


We sit at the table

to discover our mothers

best friends before us.


We sit at the table and wonder

about sadness

and loss never quite stated.


We sit at the table and grieve

a brother, a cousin

we never knew we had.


The Auntie Bonnie Experience

By Howard Goldman

The Auntie Bonnie experience

The fun

The laughter


Jumping on her bed, playing kangaroo

to my Mother’s dismay


To the years of closeness

of friendship


The connection with her first husband

The dislike of her second.

The gladness she is free of him


The worry about her ailments

The closeness we still have

The gladness


Fri, July 10 2020 18 Tammuz 5780