Linda Lown-Klein

Leaving Traces


I huddle in the back of an open pickup truck

near the Lebanese border.

Only gray skies and cliffs, green fields below.


Assigned to pick lemons with other volunteers,

I inhale the unfamiliar predawn hour.

It smells of freedom.


The kibbutz truck speeds downhill toward the orchards,

while from the hard, narrow bench, I absorb every bump in the road.

Could this be my life?


Clumsily, I slide a measuring ring to the middle of each lemon,

like the wand years later my daughter will swish and blow through,

forming iridescent bubbles that sail briefly on air—and disappear.



Pantoum on a Day at the Lake

after William Carlos Williams’ “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus”


The day before we put our dog down, we took her to the lake.

Her furry body full of cancer, she tentatively loped around the grass.

Then she quickly came and sat between us on the low stone wall facing the water,

while kayakers slid through sunset-tinted ripples, and children whooped and splashed.


Her furry body full of cancer, she tentatively loped around the grass.

My arms ached to hold her, to keep her from exerting herself,

while kayakers slid through sunset-tinted ripples, and children whooped and splashed.

We sat motionless, the three of us, for I don’t know how long.


My arms ached to hold her, to keep her from exerting herself.

Our golden girl, how she had tried—for us—to pretend that all was well.

We sat motionless, the three of us, for I don’t know how long,

as if posing for a photo op that would never end.


Our golden girl, how she had tried—for us—to pretend that all was well.

Then she quickly came and sat between us on the low stone wall facing the water,

as if posing for a photo op that would never end.

The day before we put our dog down, we took her to the lake.

 

Linda Lown-Klein is a graduate of the Shaindy Rudoff Graduate Program in Creative Writing at Bar-Ilan University. Her book reviews have appeared in Rain Taxi and The Adroit Journal. A native of New England, she lives in Israel.