Jerusalem – Joy Gaines-Friedler

A small woman
In the clothes of Poland
Before the darkness
Before the heart tattooed
______with its grief
My mother calls them
Ragged, patched together,

She is wearing her exile,
Her lost mother’s
Memory, her flag of
Small comfort.

Whatever happened—
Keeps happening.

Keeps her from escaping
The night howl of train whistles.

Her smile keeps clean
The golden stone of Jerusalem.

She is holding
A single bill in one hand
Buying  macaroons.
Something sweet for the table.

Joy Gaines-Friedler is the author of three books of poetry including the award winning Capture Theory. Joy teaches private workshops, and for non-profits in the Detroit area, including Freedom House Detroit where she teaches poetry to asylum seekers from western and northern Africa. Widely published, Joy is a multiple Pushcart Prize nominated poet. Her mother-in-law, a survivor, just turned 100 years old.

3 thoughts on “Jerusalem – Joy Gaines-Friedler

  1. Anna Wrobel

    This is a true and rare poetic voice. Not didactic or explanatory. W know from the evocation what pain and hauntings afflict the character. A seamless fusion of form and content.

  2. Joy Gaines Friedler

    Thank you for publishing this just before Passover – “Buying macaroons/something sweet for table”


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