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Poetry by Nanette Rayman

Cantor at the Brotherhood Synagogue—Manhattan

To have heard you exactly, once.
tenor over cold cheeks fresh from the snowstorm
your operatic phrasing, your doughty and lugubrious
voice. But then to be shouldered back home,
back, where no one knows your name
neither as Jew nor as artist would they welcome you

to wing back to my roots clutching
your primitive systole-diastole protocols

This was an agenda, yes, my poetic embrasure
crammed with the grey beach of your eyes,
sweet opaque mirrors of you,
that widened the embrasure, my breasts
and the cave in which I live.

where nothing is shore - I'm only
a bird like any other, cold, blue
without the flicker of life in me

broken, without faith - I still try
to pronounce vowels
I still touch the dead

Which cloud spilled you so lengthy
into this old heart, one snow falcon
naked without even a feather

I think that religion is only for personal use,
but your Ashkenazi eyes tell me
not a word of this is true.


Copyright © 2003 Nanette Rayman

Nanette Rayman has published poetry in a number of periodicals, including Three Candles, Concrete Wolf, Disquieting Muses, The Worcester Review, Words on a Wire, Millennium Papers, and Snow Monkey, and the Berkeley Fiction Review, and has received Honorable Mention in the 2000 Writer's Digest Fiction Contest. This is her second publication in Inkburns.