Two Poems–by Barbara D. Holender

A Birthday

My feet are 88.
They look it–
puffing around the ankles,
collecting themselves
to shoot the dark veins
up the knotty trunks.
I travel light,
hope they’ll hold me.

But if I must go piecemeal
I’d rather go from below
like Socrates
conversant to the end,
than grope the long way down,
having thrown the master switch.

On Reading A Translated Poem

Yiddish poem
your bones stick through
your borrowed clothes.

Poor immigrant,
your relatives
are always explaining you,
while your displaced persona
cries out in its own voice
“That’s not what I said!”

How anemic you are.
Back in the old country
your blood sang like wine.

You speak to me
of lost family connections
but in this exchange
I am the poor relation.