Jessica Grenbaum

Poem | I Hold my Breath

1. I keep calling up Weather to ask if it’s going to rain, though I’m standing at the window and can see the staccato drops already falling. We were to meet only if the day was fine. And so I call again, hoping that whoever’s in charge of the weather can be made to change their plan. 2. I hold my breath at every stop light, and if I don’t breathe before it changes, I’ll have good luck all day. 3. I think of a child kneeling beside his bed, blessing his mother, his father; then blessing the bicycle, the dog, the sailboat he solemnly asks for. 4. At nine my father was told by the rabbi that if he kissed a crucifix, he’d die. He made one out of the live branches of a tenement tree, stripping the greening leaves, and he kissed it, frightened but refusing what he’d been told. He lived to watch me take charge of...

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