By Noah Leventhal


the desert smells like Mother       stones
sundial their way across the dunes        reeking
of dust and blood and evaporation     a lizard

skitters across the scattered sand
each wretched bump in its thorny skin
a testament       drooping brittle grass

reaching up and down with thirst
when the ground shakes     when the wind
dies       when the heat digs deep below

the seas of crust and dust and age
you know Mother cries her paper
eyes out     Mother of blessings says time

is an illusion       this is why we rebuild cities
this is why the night markets churn
an ancient air with sugar       yeast and charcoal

smoke     beneath the rubble a Mother
sings her children out of memory       the markets
an illusion       the Mothers and their songs

of time     the wind       the stillness of the desert
Mother of capability knows        there are no
blessings       only candles that flicker and winds

still enough to let them       sunsets across the beige
expanse       rare things of beauty       curtains
in the window frames     woven in their likeness

houses return to sand       Mother
of capability doesn’t sing at night       she eats
and sleeps to meet the sun       Mother of sadness

rubs shoulders with Mother of peace        Mother
of wickedness trips across Mother of good
will     Mother of gentility interrupts Mother

of gaping wounds       Mother of dearth and poverty
gives to Mother of the rich       Mother of sunrise
lies with Mother of the night       Mother of your wishes

warms Mother of your fears       a million little deaths
descend       a future Mother’s mouth       raining upon
the mother                                   of all bombs



Noah Leventhal is a recent graduate of the classics program at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico who currently lives in Los Angeles. As the grandson of a holocaust survivor, he was raised on the poetry of hope and resistance. Even on her deathbed, as other thoughts faded away, his grandmother’s tongue could recite Pushkin with perfect precision. Words stick with us, they become a part of who we are. The way we speak changes the way we think, and the way we think is everything.

Photo credit: Seniju via a Creative Commons license.

By | 2017-06-06T11:08:56+00:00 June 8th, 2017|Categories: Issue 28: 08 June 2017|Tags: , |Comments Off on Mother