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Eve Grubin
Eve Grubin

Eve Grubin is the author of Morning Prayer, a book of poems published by the Sheep Meadow Press. She was shortlisted for the Bridport Poetry Prize in 2013, and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in many literary journals and magazines, including Poetry Review, PN Review, The American Poetry Review, The New Republic, and Conjunctions, where her chapbook-size group of poems was featured and introduced by Fanny Howe. She teaches creative writing at NYU in London and is a tutor at the Poetry School. She is the poet in residence at the London School of Jewish Studies.


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Eve Grubin Poetry


A Boat of Letters

 

arrives, and I lie down in its white wet,

ink prints on my cheek, feet, and dress.

Last night, I dreamt my husband

held me like a forceful wind

as I strained forward to hear

a group of girls sing, unclear,

soft, in our doorway.

I pushed towards them. They seemed far away.

He was strong, and I struggled against him.

Boat of letters, filled to the brim,

take us to your wild inky swamp

where leaves hang down like muted lamps,

where we can write and read; and with each broken seal,

let there be an answer, a surprise, something delightful!

 

 

First published in Poetry Review.

When the Light Begins to Close

 

When the light begins to close, just before it closes,

I am looking out the window or walking beside buildings,

 

a wave of uncertainty—suffocating, numinous—rushes my throat,

quick, unmistakable.

 

Suddenly I am my name:

standing in the garden, the fruit eaten, seeds burning the dust.

 

Loneliness, slanted cold enters the air around my neck.

 

Eve looks at the wet eyes of the animals, once soft and brown. The rotation

of the earth moves through her, me.

 

Holiness, a slanted cold

sifts the spaces between my fingers.

 

At end of day, light contracts: I stare into trees and lamps, the gray

sidewalk, shadows walking into shadows.  What is it

 

about the transition between sun and dark, hope and gloaming,

that constricts, elates?

 

 

First published in PN Review.

 

Goodbye

 

There is no word for it in Hebrew,

and it’s never used in the Bible except

when someone says, “Go towards peace.”

 

I say, “See you later” or

 “We’ll talk soon” or “Email me.”

 

Israelis say, “l’hitraot,” meaning “see you later,”

or they say “shalom,” which more often means “hello” and “peace.”  

If they have to say it, they use a string of three languages

—Hebrew, Arabic, English—

as if to not claim any of them: “Oz, yalla, bye.”

 

Joseph’s goodbye to his father was a coat drenched with red life.

How does one tell Jacob—who had mourned

for twenty years with ash in his throat—

that his son is still alive?

 

Jacob’s granddaughter sings the too sweet news to him slant,

playing the harp, its strings denting her strong fingers,

her voice, almost silent in its depth,

undoing the violent goodbye: your son’s still breathing body...

 

 

First published in Zeek.

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