Meeting Place, Commandment and Sundays

A186 nancypoem

Written by Nancy Shiffrin. Nancy, a first-time Jewrotica writer, is the author of Game With Variations, My Jewish Name and The Vast Unknowing.

She has earned recognition from The Academy of American Poets, The Dora Teitelbaum Foundation and other literary organizations. Through creative writing services, Nancy helps aspiring writers achieve publication and personal satisfaction.

Nancy Shiffrin earned her M.A. studying with Anais Nin, her Ph.D. studying Jewish American Women authors at the Union Institute and University. Her grandparents were from Eastern Europe and she heard them and her parents speak both Yiddish and Spanish. She regrets not learning those languages, as well as Hebrew, Aramaic, and all of the languages in which the Jewish heart expresses itself. She knows enough English to know that there have been great Jewish authors in Great Britain, The United States, Canada, Australia, South Africa and wherever else the English language is primary. She is published on Women In Judaism, The Canadian Jewish Outlook, Humanistic Judaism, the Los Angeles Times, The Journal of Anais Nin Studies and New York Quarterly.



COMMANDMENT

Rated R“I said ‘The Prayer for a Happy Death’
the first time I masturbated” he confides
“was amazed at the sticky puddle after the amen”
we sip tea on his stone terrace proud of bonsaied trees
he lectures on faith and feminism
points to the mama duck on the man-made lake
he yearns to be just like her
taking off over and over until babies learn to fly

a sudden wind sends us indoors
hollow-eyed masks grimace
from walls heavy with books
he speaks of tracking identification with prey
I want wine and wafer
“I’m a very sensitive lover”
he pulls a sword from its sheath above the hearth
caresses the blade pipe smoke suffocates

escape through
labyrinthine parking lot past concrete buildings
I drive to Malibu Creek wander among tidepools
feet sinking into muddy soil
I nest in dodder dandelion seed
a teacher leads a nature walk
“the estuary is a nursery for snowy egret brown pelican”

blackbirds dance against silver clouds
gulls gossip “male wears plumage female chooses”
at the outhouse blue script exhorts
love Christ! be saved!
six-pointed star slashing red rebuttal
thou shalt have no other Gods before me!



MEETING PLACE

The Child I was eyes hollow cavernous
wears a black hat and veil
a schoolbus arrives desks chalk smell
a naked man sits in a corner
I hurl myself into his arms
his nipples blooms I lick his milk

“you don’t look like a 32D” the fitter touches
accidentally suddenly breast no longer
man-pleasuring bounty I am twelve years old
in the swimming pool at camp a boy
yanks down the top of my bathing suit
“I didn’t think they were real” he explains
I shiver in front of a mirror hands cupped over
alien protrusions they seem
not to belong to my tiny body
they belong to the man who
reaches hungrily takes off my bra
who says “I’m so glad you’re real”

his father probably hated Jews
mine thought “goy” another word for “dumb”
he was made for big spaces
I am happy in my two-room city apartment
we both like putting butter on our
fingernails in fine French restaurants
licking peanut-butter off a spoon for breakfast
both of us after we make love
cling afraid to move
each afraid to let the other move
murmur “mama mama”



SUNDAYS

as the blind man taps the ground
head cocked face intense
listens for the pause in traffic senses the green light
as the dog lifts its nose as its eerie howls foretell
the siren’s shrieking you listen for my sigh
tap my special rhythm grasp the signal “go”

newspapers scattered
egg jelly hardening on breakfast plates
cinnamon coffee light on our lips
we fall deep
my breasts pressed into your spine
my nose nestled in the small hollow
just below the nape of your neck
where your bristled body hair goes suddenly soft
your dreams vivid you murmur shift gather me

a rooster crows cats screech the neighbor’s baby wails
I wake wrapped in your arms you tongue my ear rise
against my spine after while you sleep I stagger
to my desk write the poem that rubbed all week


Nancy Shiffrin has earned recognition from The Academy of American Poets, The Dora Teitelbaum Foundation and other literary organizations. Through creative writing services, Nancy helps aspiring writers achieve publication and personal satisfaction.
  • Emma Morris

    Gorgeously and richly visceral – I love Nancy’s inclusion of her
    Jewish upbringing coalescing with her reflection on sexual awakening and other crucial moments in her life.

    Thank you so much for sharing your work with Jewrotica, Nancy!

    • Ayo Oppenheimer

      Well said, Emma. I’m not a tremendous poetry buff, but I am able to better appreciate the form through others’ appreciation, catching a glimpse of what I normally might not see myself.

      Thank you for sharing your writing with us, Nancy!