In one hand, an apology. A suitcase
pulling on the other.
Doorbells I can’t recall the notes of,
doorsteps I stood on underdressed
in winter. My wrist the temperature of a particular
trip home, the welcoming window. The rolling-down.
One oak tree I left out the first time.
The outline of whoever was there, smelling
familiar, holding the keys.
The shirt and its buttons, the narrowed
Almost love. Almost
looking in the same direction.
Nava EtShalom (www.netshalom.com) learned to talk in Jerusalem and to read in Brooklyn. Her poems have appeared in Mid-American Review, Meridian, FIELD, and elsewhere, and she has received awards from the Pew Fellowships in the Arts and the Academy of American Poets. She holds a BA from Oberlin College, an MFA from the University of Michigan, and is working toward a PhD in English at the University of Pennsylvania. As a writer, educator, and activist, her work includes supporting justice in Palestine and reimagining queer family. (updated 10/2009)