Zvi A. Sesling
I edit Muddy River Poetry Review, publish Muddy River Books and review for Boston Small Press and Poetry Scene. I have authored two volumes of poetry and one chapbook. I am (finally) retiring this summer and will devote my time to reading and writing poetry. I live in Chestnut Hill, MA with my wife Susan J. Dechter.
A tree grows alone in the desert
by a cool spring where a man and
woman, naked, eat the fruit of the
tree, when from a cloudless sky,
lightning splits the tree into two
perfect halves and the man and
woman drop the fruit and leave
Crossing the desert they are scorched
by the sun, thirst has parched their lips
and throats so they cannot speak of
their tribulations and their skin has
darkened, their feet bleed, yet they
continue their journey until they stumble
upon an oasis, a small pool of water where
they drink and eat dates from a lone tree
and lay down together to sleep in each
other’s arms having found Eden.
"Eden" first appeared in Midstream Magazine.
Once, in the home of a Filipino, I was
served soup with the head of a fish
floating in the middle, the eye staring up
as in a pile of the dead in
Auschwitz, the center of the eye forming
a question mark asking, Why me? Why am
I here? What have I done to earn this infamous
plight? The eye not only sees, it tells you
about surprise, shock, fear, anguish and pain.
You can still see love, but not happiness or humor.
The eye has seen too much, not enough.
Questions are answered, questions remain.
In the end humanity consumes fish
"Fish Eye" first appeared in the 2007 Voices Israel Anthology.
They were children given up by
parents to save their young lives,
given to Christians in Poland or
France or other countries
to those who would allow them
to grow and survive the Nazi
scourge, and while many kept
their word, they amended
their promises and raised the children
as Christians, minds twisted away
from parents who were murdered
in Auschwitz and forgotten
cut off from their heritage and today
like the wisp of smoke from the
death chambers, they have only a wisp
of memory, their past stolen
"Stolen Jews" first appeared in Midstream Magazine.
When I Get There
When I get there it will be my parents who greet me
Father with his stern look, angry that I have learned
His harshness was more abuse than discipline.
Mother aloof as always, critical that I did not spend
More time in her company.
Grandfathers and grandmothers I never knew will try
To guilt me that I did not know them and their sufferings,
Nor pay attention to my father’s lessons about them.
Piles of ancestors like old newspapers in the basement
Will present themselves like headlines for me to acknowledge.
Dogs from my past will bound forward through green fields,
Tails wagging a quick metronome to their happy bark.
My black cat, distant as my mother, will sit on a rock drinking
The sun, allowing himself the luxury of an occasional purr, the
Twitch in his tail, a signal of annoyance at being detected.
The sky will be a wondrous blue, like the aquamarine in my mother’s
Ring, the sun, yellow like the stars my aunts, uncles and cousins wore
The green meadows will be filled like Noah’s Ark with animals at play
With each other and there will be peace everywhere and respect for each
Person, and I will wonder why the world from which I came could not
Have been so, and glad I have been welcomed to this one.
"When I Get There" appears on the Ibbetson Street Press website.
©2016 Zvi A. Sesling