For eons, we cannot talk, my brother, my sister.
I am one of them to you; you are one of them to me.
And we each know—knives held between our teeth—
how murderous the other is, or wants to be.
Our stories calcify in isolation, yours a holy shrine
visited only by your people, mine a holy shrine,
visited only by mine.
But then, as ages pass like clouds
in time-lapse video, something you say,
my sister, my brother, pierces my armor.
A small, surprising chink has already appeared
in yours, like the sun startling at dawn
on the Summer Solstice, behind the Heel Stone
For many generations more, we live
with the inconvenience of incomplete
defenses. And now comes the point when
the dream wants desperately to pull
the rabbit of hope out of the black
hat of horror. But the dreamers
say to the dream There is no magic. Or, How arrogant!
You cannot possibly know my lived experience.
Still, the dream keeps beginning, dreaming itself,
fantasizing. One night, when I am dreaming,
one of my people names her first-born son
with two names, one in my language,
one in yours. One night, when you are dreaming,
one of your people names his first-born daughter
with two names, one in his language, one in mine.
Let us imagine Ezra Bassam, let us imagine Hanan Ahava—
each child born with an imaginary sibling,
a brother, or sister bound to him or her, with whom
each freely walks on the land they love,
Judy Kronenfeld’s full-length books of poetry include Groaning and Singing (FutureCycle, 2022), Bird Flying through the Banquet (FutureCycle, 2017), and Shimmer (WordTech, 2012). Her poems have appeared in four dozen anthologies and widely in journals. Her memoir-in-essays, Apartness, is forthcoming from Inlandia Books in 2024/2025. Her eighth collection, a chapbook of poems, If Only There Were Stations of the Air, will be published by Sheila-Na-Gig Editions in early 2024, and her ninth, another chapbook, Oh Memory, You Unlocked Cabinet of Amazements!, will be released by Bamboo Dart Press in June, 2024. Judy is Lecturer Emerita, Creative Writing Department, UC Riverside.