Bio Note: I am the author of the poetry collection Fruit of the Earth (Main Street Rag, 2018). I live in Chicago with my husband and two kids, and I currently teach middle school reading and writing. My poems and book reviews have been published widely, including in Green Mountains Review and Lilith. I hold an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Nebraska Omaha.
Black-eyed map of the Pale of Settlement: booby-trapped locations of pogroms, prominent black dots varying in size, survival rates, how many died, comparatively. I stare into the laptop’s glow and wonder which bones and seeds of the shtetl grew under my skin, pulled out of bleeding earth to flutter and form their spirit in me. In dreams, I walk through Zayde Meyer’s wood planked childhood home. So easily it could burn down, as innocent as a cigarette, expected, painful as an edict. I strengthen my tense body, temporary like home. Summer heat slips under the Russian front door, twirls with moths in the prolonged night of departure. I walk with women toward motherhood. In Iudovin’s formal portraits, everyone wears black, black when they emigrate, white when they die. Waves of black and white animate the Jewish wedding a kick of klezmer, nicknames teased, faces veiled. A violin spins the air purple. Pigeons coo into wire. Mellow beggars beg with sleepless eyes and know the world is a cage to occupy, every street corner a place to settle.
©2022 Jamie Wendt
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