Out of History's Junk Jar: Poems of a Mixed Inheritance


by Judith Chalmer


Eve, After They Had Gone

In my dream my sister
was a fish. Silver and lustrous
she rose in my hand, flesh
and bone of her torso arching,
her strong sides pulling upward
like a man's sinewy back.
So beautiful women will slip, I have
seen it, on and off their hooks.
In my dream my sister was
speaking. I don't remember
what she said. I remember
her blood, water-thin, down
the scaly sides of my dress.
But inside Mother's mouth,
I would swear, we were
perfect. We stood before
the glistening gate.
Our tongues were not cold.
They would never be
lifted or gored.

 



Summary:

These are poems that reclaim, in the voice of a Jewish woman, stories almost lost in the personal and historical disruption of lives, immigration, the Holocaust, child abuse, and the rending and piecing together of love.


 

Praise:

This is a sure and powerful first book, the somehow beautiful poems of which are the searchlight Chalmer carries into the dark of her life, its intersections of lost personal and political history. . . . Poetry is too rarely asked to do its full work of wedding profound individual insight with its largest social meaning. Chalmer expects it to, requires it to, and it does.
— Linda McCarriston, author of Eva-Mary, winner of TriQuarterly Books Terrence Des Pres Prize and finalist for the National Book Award in 1991