Judy Katz-Levine



Reassurance After


The lights of that pickup truck, smoke, night and
the bending of a November oak. Stranger.

We would talk about it, over and over again.
Watch as the day turned its oceanic rollers
and the faces of people we knew rolled away.

To connect as a branch connects with the grass,
or the ways eyes connect when the news is bad,
or don't.

The walk to the pond, a man fishing. Was he
for or against goodness, simple truthful words?

Silence is the way we watch, or a creek of comments
dropping into roiled waters.

Also, the missteps, broken smiles, hair lit
by winter song.

Hand in hand anyway.



light at 4, pre-dawn

unburdened fire, thirst
and a cry leaving
the friend and the photo of the moon
you can't be lost always listen
for a voice under a voice
which is a forest footstep
in coming snow
an eternal wave in a dream
before the dunes
brought you home



A song of loyalty

seems like the night has a leaf
that floats from eye to eye

a blind leaf that finds hands
and always promises

loyalty, the binding of a soul
to a cypress in the yard

of what can never end
night after night after night

the flute of night and the lips
that drive the soaring pulse

could there come a moment
when we agree to trust

who dance a blues
in the rain of dreams

seems like the leaf has an eye
that floats from night to night

and remembers you
as you take my promising hand



Winter night blues and a prayer

all of us in this together
and the stillness of the cold tree
the bending wing that hangs from your ear
the string of a guitar
that angles through your eyes
asking song of a girl who is under
the chemotherapy night
and what will become of us
we want to know we don't
want to understand how the blues
and the scars of the dawn
bring us close


Summer Heat


Tiger lilies close, two are open.
The laundry hangs on the line - breathless air dries the tomato plants
The cypress in the yard tells parables of fire.

Afternoon - my lips move silently.

A recorder lilts in stillness - tune I've almost memorized.

I hear stories - some tragic as the jets overhead take strangers.
I hear stories - and I keep silent - advice comes from the dry dogwood
I planted in memory of my father.

We surrender.



No Mailman

Her name meant "full of lights" in Hindi, the woman
who cut my hair. Meant "pretty face" in Yiddish. Then
I bought the salmon, garlic. The walk home wasn't
stunning, but the sun turned the cold to pear-like warmth.

If there were a way to disassemble the walls you put up, but I
left you out of my prayers this morning. It was because
of the fight about going to New York, and that the mailman
never came.

So tomorrow is the gig* at the temple with chanting, djembe*
and a soprano and I'll be the flute voice.

Trees wanting to touch.

*gig - a music work date
*djembe - small hand drum from Africa


Bio: I am an internationally published poet (Japan, USA, England,
Israel) with two full-length collections published: "When The Arms Of Our Dreams Embrace" (Saru 1991) and "Ocarina" (Saru/Tarsier 2006). My
most recent chapbook is "When Performers Swim, The Dice Are Cast" (Ahadada 2009). Other (out-of-print) chapbooks include "Carpenter", "Speaking With Deaf-Blind Children", and "The Umpire, And Other Masks". My poems have appeared in many journals, most recently in "Ygdrasil" (on-line), "Salamander", "Blue Unicorn", "Muddy River Poetry Review"
(on-line), "Miriam's Well" (a blog), "Soul-lit" (on-line in press), and "Ibbetson Street. Several short poems are forthcoming in the spring in the on-line journal "First Literary Review." I am also a jazz flutist
and perform monthly in the Boston, USA region.


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