Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, NONE OF IT, by JANET KAPLAN

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NONE OF IT, by            
First Line: God lists who'll live who'll die
Subject(s): Grandparents; Jewish Families; Grandmothers; Grandfathers; Great Grandfathers; Great Grandmothers

God lists Who'll Live Who'll Die
and the year begins
Grandfather will have none of it
his name on neither list
memory the god/hell
schnapps cutter straight edge
gangrened foot
taunts to his matronly wife
A handmirror? Why don't you go look in the toilet?

Love asleep in the next room
the lover sleeping, sanctity of his orderly breaths
I've worked when I should have slept
ailanthus by the window murmuring
cat asleep on the papers, 5:30 a.m.

He will trundle cane-first
cane-first but muscular, masculine
in blizzards, any extreme
left shoe laced
to fake foot

Vu gaistu? Away from you!

The wife and granddaughter: his foes in the living room
feel our lives contract a chest pain
and he disappears

Lit screen in the here and now
messy desk morning murmuring in the yard
mask placed firmly
over the day, I-mask
setting order upon the day to come upon the face
of the deep

upon the pain
Trundles out cane-first
and disappears of the void
jays nudging the linden
settling back in the light-dark
love asleep the
sanctity of his orderly breaths
my window going gray-green Let there be
(look elsewhere for a mirror)
I should have slept


Here, now, an exile's roughened face
lucent, caught Lithuania ca. 1900
here, now, on the screen
mutable on the glass Flushing 1979
now the softened frame of infancy, now
of old age, nasal folds deep ravines

Away from you!

But he turns toward me,
his foe in the living room,
with all the eyes of the grave A handmirror? Go look

in the blank screen Go look
in the blizzard
in the desert
in the light-dark
and disappears,
his siblings calling their murdered names
in my throat

Copyright Janet Kaplan.

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