Poems & Essays

16 May

From Generation to Generation

General/Column No Response

—After 18 Cups, Joël Penkman

Matched dessert sets,
cups, saucers, cake plates.
Bone china, collected by my mother.
English floral prints, each trio unique.

Pulled out for dinner parties, holiday
feasts, births, deaths, reminders that
what was cannot be,
vos iz geven kenen nit zeyn 

Lemon chiffon pie, whipped dollops on top
heavy cream in patterned pitchers, sugar cubes
for tired toddlers, refills, how to make
the evening last, life’s sun already faded
to winter, good to the last drop.

The cups, their companions, safe in a sideboard,
the dining room empty, my mother’s watchful eyes,
her voice silent these thirty years,
take these, use them, don’t break up the sets,
don’t drop the cups, where are the children?



Gail Fishman Gerwin (www.gailfgerwin.com) wrote three poetry collections. Sugar and Sand was a Paterson Poetry Prize finalist; Dear Kinfolk, (ChayaCairn Press) earned a Paterson Award for Literary Excellence. Aldrich Press (Kelsay Books) published Crowns (2016). Associate poetry editor of the literary journal Tiferet, Gail, also a playwright, poetry reviewer, and published fiction writer, is a writing-workshop facilitator.

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