Jessica Greenbaum

My Lovely Garonne
January 10, 2013 Greenbaum Jessica

My Lovely Garonne

                               for A.Z.


Because every tenth poem or so the poet described

the river of his city, I began to live within sight

of the river, thinking about one thing and then looking

to the left where glinted the river, tempered or fibrillating

at the end of the block, and the blocks became

a conversation, the view became the love threading

between the speakers, sometimes lazily, sometimes darkly,

sometimes seeming brushed backward by wind

against its own grain, and each section of the book

(there were three), remembered to include the river,

because no matter our despair about the destruction

people have wrought against each other and the earth,

we’re sewn to love, sometimes everywhere you look

offers evidence, the light on the river’s surface

like little stitches, the dawn’s half moon, white, stuck

like a dime in the coin slot ready to get the day going,

the tree above me so expansive it covers six city

yards, creates its own neighborhoods for the birds

and squirrels which travel its byways, and as the pages

of the day turn—it’s already light; we’ve already

lost the privacy of the prefacing dark—I mistake

the distanced sound of traffic for the commentary

of the river, which I live alongside now, a little

hope, on my birthday, that all the systems can gain

strength from each other, as we are grateful for the feral

cherry tomatoes, redder than our seasonal cardinal

and also here without our help, ready for picking and

watered, from now on, by the river running underneath.

Jessica Greenbaum is the author of three volumes of poems, a co-editor of the first ever poetry Haggadah, and also of  Tree Lines, an anthology of 21st century American poems. A recipient of awards from the National Endowment of the Arts and the Poetry Society of America, she teaches inside and outside academia including for communities who may have experienced trauma, and in synagogues around the relationship of Jewish text to contemporary poems. Her most recent book, Spilled and Gone, was recognized by The Boston Globe as a best book of the year, 2021.