I sink feet rubbed almost to blisters still blotched red
into saltwater that glinted ahead for several downhill miles
shrug off a backpack that holds too much
its fabric imprinted with rocks gathered for a distant garden
my dented shoulders have changed their mind
carry only the best of memories
too attached to earthly paradise to leave it all behind
like an ancient tablet smoothed with wax
(melt of memorials – birthdays – scented romance)
that retains an echo of its last message
or a folio of parchment that carries an old tale in faintest lines
scraped clean – rewritten – center folded – sewn by working hands
and working eyes cross-hatched in a nonfiction canvas of a face
as present in underdrawings as in the final portrait.

Mori Glaser spent her earliest years in Singapore, grew up in the UK, and moved to Israel 35 years ago.

Her poetry and flash have appeared in various journals and anthologies, including Eunoia ReviewThe Alexandria ReviewUnbrokenVine Leaves Literary Journal: a collection of vignettes from across the globe; Between the Lines’ anthology, Fairy Tales and Folklore Re-imagined; Akashic Books web series Thursdaze; The Molotov Cocktail’s 2017 Shadow Award (3rd prize).

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2 Responses to Pentimento

  1. joe ryan says:

    This is really a new departure. I admire your acquisition of a new ease of longer line and an ability to mix in rhythms and some startling rhymes. I like the idea of the palimpsest of back-back, the various parchments, the superimposition of various memories with various textures of meaning. One clear slip, I feel. We stumble over the word “nonfiction.” The reference to the parchment of your face seems clumsy. I am always pondering the layered regrets of stratas of memories as they attach to things and places.

  2. Mori Glaser says:

    Thank you Joe – I did feel this poem was going somewhere new. I’m glad you find that it works. The nonfiction canvas (I was thinking of my mother’s face, I don’t think you ever met her) was important to my imagining of the poem, so I was less aware that it reads with a stumble. I like that you share the way memories attach to things and places, in layers.

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