I am a retired professor of French, living in New York City, painting, writing, and trying to learn Portuguese. (Language-study is my favorite form of frustration.) My most recent poetry collections are The Unknowing Muse (Dos Madres, 2014) and Wars Don’t Happen Anymore (Deerbrook Editions, 2016).
Rosh Hashana, 2016
Our world, according to the Book of Books,
turns five thousand seven hundred
seventy-seven years old this Sunday.
I am not certain this is so.
I do know what happened Saturday,
September thirteenth, nineteen fifty-two
by the Gregorian calendar. My brother, Bill,
a day after turning twenty-three, spoke
his marriage vows on Fifth Avenue
and Fifty-third in a church named
for Thomas, the doubtful Apostle.
He is gone, and I’m the only one
who knows he was wearing red
suspenders. He handed me his suit
to carry home as he left with the bride
for their honeymoon. Crimson dye
had leeched into the posh
white shirt worn under a jacket
too warm for the season.
The rosy tinge of the clothes,
their damp and tender weight
are all I recall of that day
though our war planes
were bombing North China,
and Nehru was pleading for peace.
Uptown, for all I know, a boy
named Jacob was wrestling
with a boy named Angel.
The bride, hour by hour,
in her white satin gown,
was swelling with my brother’s
soon to be my niece.
I, a virgin, fifteen years old,
didn’t hear about that until later.
©2016 Sarah White
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