The Pool We Should Have
Who can retell
Half a century on
Nights of disputation and rancor
All about a swimming pool?
Behind the sanctuary and the school
Beneath the weeping willow by the carriage house
Between the parking lot and the rows of stones dabbed with white paint
Where the shul’s land borders
the parochial school’s
Was there enough space?
O ner tamid
Who stares down upon
The covered heads of my people
Meanwhile the war. A plane
Is hijacked the Treasurer of
The Men’s Club and his family
Are on board. Assassinations.
Show trials in Iraq. Some are hung
Some have their hands lopped off
O pool of unbroken waters
Gazing to the sky
In the crook of the willow’s arm
Shielding you from the parkway roar
And the jangle of shopping carts
Across Daitch’s parking lot
O field of stars
A hydraheaded argument
Whose argument prevailed? Who was it?
Who today remembers, fifty years on? Who can tell
Whether this triumph was the crown of a career of ceaseless battle
Or the first glimmer of a rising star?
And who remembers you, great willow
Menorah of green light
Held upside down to the dark earth and the bright pool,
Who gave you your light?
Andrew Sunshine is the author of Andra moi (Ambitus Books). His poems and prose have recently appeared in Speculative Non-Fiction, Toho Journal, and Map Literary, among other journals. He is co-editor (with Donna Jo Napoli) of Tongue’s Palette: Poetry by Linguists and editor of The Alembic Space: Writings on Poetics and Translation by Joseph Malone (Atlantis-Centaur, 2004 and 2006 respectively). I live in New York City with my wife and (when they are passing through) my sons.