Furlough

I love to see those tall, lean, muscular men
with their clean-shaven heads and digital

watches toss their kids in the air. And I love
to see them drop, not weightless, but light

as grenades. This is how children learn that fear
can be fun. And fathers, that this too is hand

to hand combat. To cradle or kill – what stories
do we tell ourselves to justify. That a dunam

of earth is worth dying for? That a child opening
his mouth with an o of pleasure overturns

everything? We grow like onions, our heads
buried in dirt. And we die like onions, face

down in a pot of boiling water. Gravity causes
all to fall down, and love, to hold things up.


Barbara Goldberg, raised in Forest Hills, New York, graduated from Mount Holyoke College in philosophy. She is the author of four prize-winning books. She lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
 
tags: Poetry, Poetry & Fiction   
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