Maya Pindyck

Risk Factor
November 25, 2023 Pindyck Maya

Risk Factor


After the reading, a young Jewish woman
asks me if criticizing Israel in my poetry
risks diminishing my family’s love for me.
Like, how might I piss my sisters off
to the edge of exile & still will
the truth? This isn’t Fiddler on the Roof
but fear’s a real thing lingering each time
I write a dark word on the white page.
I say something about faith in my mother’s
embrace, & my choice to share little
until it’s out in the world, out of my hands,
a child I did my best to raise & now
Boom! off she goes, planet-bound possibility
of hurting & healing beaded inside
the same body—funny pharmakon—who
can predict? Once I let the poem go,
I’m just an echo, shred of seed no longer
holding root. The question of how
to leave home & stay home in one
life seems a sea-breamed conundrum
buoyed by how we choose to dream.


Maya Pindyck’s third poetry collection Impossible Belonging (Anhinga Press, 2023) won the Philip Levine Prize for Poetry and was a finalist for the National Poetry Series. She is also author of Emoticoncert (Four Way Books) and Friend Among Stones (New Rivers Press), winner of the Many Voices Project Award, and co-author of A Poetry Pedagogy for Teachers (Bloomsbury, 2022). Her honors include a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship. She lives in Philadelphia where she is an assistant professor and director of Writing at Moore College of Art & Design. She grew up in Boston and Tel Aviv.