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Two Poems by Amy Gottlieb
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Two Poems by Amy Gottlieb

Beit Daniel Guest House, 1994  Question:  

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.


Buying In 

Your son asks which is stronger:

diamonds or titanium,

and you deliberate

stone versus metal,

rock, paper, scissors,

and then your husband says

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.


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