Sunday, 8 November 2020

The Dybbuk 
(a love story)

by Katherine West

The dybbuk
blew in on the end of winter
along with the long dead
and the skeins
of dirt
scarves of ghosts whisked across the road
to your door

It didn't knock
it swirled
around the corners
of your home
like a dust devil
a tornado
with you as the eye
at the center
you read your book
pencil in hand
to underline
take notes

Nothing existed
for you
but the words
and the dybbuk
which part of you
(the oldest part)
waited for
had always
waited for

Had always
kept in a shoe box
under the bed
instead of God
someone to argue with
someone to hold
to account
someone to hold
as you cried
in the night
a kind of wife
you could love
and hate
without leaving your room
your books
your sticky history
your swollen heart
bursting all over the ancient pages
the white sheets
that gave the dybbuk shape

"What a bloody mess!"
the neighbors say
when they come to spring clean
when they come to make sure
you are gone
despite the two sets
of red footprints
side by side
walking out the door

* * * * *

Katherine West lives in Southwest New Mexico, near the Gila Wilderness, where she writes poetry about the soul-importance of wilderness and performs it with her musician husband, Yaakov. She has written three collections of poetry: The Bone TrainScimitar Dreams, and Riddle, as well as one novel, Lion Tamer. Her poetry has appeared in journals such as Lalitamba, Bombay Gin, and New Verse News, which recently nominated her poem And Then the Sky for a Pushcart Prize.