Prologue by Jane Medved

after Richard Siken


Tell me again about the rain, tell me how it’s good
                                                        that we don’t have any,
                              how all these stones are only
left-over change from our empty pockets.

I pick up the sharpest one to lay on his grave.
                               When the mound is filled with crooked stones,
                                                        it is time to leave.
When I come back the stones are gone,
                                                       so I begin again.
It’s not like a prayer, it’s more like knocking on a wall
                                                                            that no one answers.

Four rivers set out from Eden, but only one found the source
                                                                      of gold, the rest of us
               lick our lips and trudge on, the clouds mumble
                                        and the sky doesn’t really care.
I wouldn’t either.  I’d also blink 365 times
                                             if it meant I could spread out that blue and climb in.

Tell me, if we took the top off, would we see God’s plans,
                                                                                  his little secrets,
                   Excuse me, I just need a minute to fix this.

Tell me how to make a perfect circle, tell me how pi can only be divided
                        by forgiveness, tell me how I’ve known the answer
                                                                   all along, I just have to open
                 my hand, but I can’t because the angels won’t stop
hissing from behind the grass,
                                   Come on then, let’s see, let’s see what you’ve got in there.

Look –  a piece of moon is carved off. That means we must start over.
                                             That means we are counting again.



Jane Medved’s debut chapbook “Olam, Shana, Nefesh” is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press, summer 2014. Her poems have appeared in Spoon River Poetry Review, New American Writing, Poet Lore and Poetry East. She is the poetry editor of the Ilanot Review, the on-line literary magazine of Bar Ilan University. She lives in Jerusalem, Israel with her husband, four children and two shedding dogs.