Babel

They used to conspire in a brother tongue
no one else could parse. They were its sole native speakers,
these sons of mine
who grew up talking their way to the table. They come back as men to the keep
of my kitchen, the habit of food and talk,
leaving their rented rooms
half a life away. Who are these children-in-disguise
with their beards and glasses,
smoking and joking, each in his own tongue,
about who knows what? Don’t get twin beds, I begged my mother, afraid
of the slightest space
between him and her—a nightstand
with its drawers and knobs,
foursquare and stolid as a gravestone,
the two of them
buried on either side.

Featured Poet: Chana Bloch

Selections by Philip Terman

Swimming in the Rain
 

Swaddled and sleeved in water,

I dive to the rocky bottom and rise

as the first drops of sky

 

find the ocean. The waters above

meet the waters below,

the sweet and the salt,

 

and I'm swimming back to the beginning. The forecasts were wrong. Half the sky is dark

 

but it keeps changing. Half the stories

I used to believe are false.