What time capsule can I drop here for our baby son
who laughs in a February rainstorm in the arms
of a woman who speaks no language I know,
who leads us through a copse of cypresses in the dark,
to our cabin where we will lay our son in a white crib
and I will lay awake, wondering where to bury a note
for him to find here when he is grown?
The next day a film crew arrives, just back with footage from Bosnia.
They walk silently on the grounds like monks. Over cheese blintzes,
oranges, and coffee, someone uses the word brave and I wonder
if the word is meant for us because we are at the beginning of raising
a child, or for them, because they dodged bullets in Sarajevo.
That war is ended, the baby is grown, the old woman died, the crew moved on.
February rains, cypress trees, blintzes, oranges, coffee.
Another war, always. And your question, because
every winter, someone arrives here with a baby, asking the same one.
Your son asks which is stronger:
diamonds or titanium,
and you deliberate
stone versus metal,
rock, paper, scissors,
God is stronger than anything
and you go for broke and say,
faith trumps them all.
You are sitting around
the Shabbat table
and this is your life.
You can still remember
your Saturday morning
Italian class at Zabar’s:
mi porti un espresso
e un gelato per mio figlio
your voice rising
in the morning light.
Amy Gottlieb‘s short stories, essays, and poetry have appeared in Lilith, Forward, Puerto del Sol, Other Voices, Nashim, PresenTense, and elsewhere. She is an Arts Fellow at Drisha Institute of Jewish Education and the recipient of a 2008 BRIO award for poetry from Bronx Council on the Arts.
In The Land of Flowers Some Thing Stirs and Glowers and Banana Republic by Eileen Weitzman