A Literary Magazine in Support of the Jewish Community

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"Stun" by Leah Umansky


Every day I try to trust in the world, but I don’t know where


my trust goes; the world is your toolbox, yet the world is your


tool. Dena makes a pagan mezuzah out of flowers for a friend


and tells me, someday, I’ll make you one, and I think, how lovely,


and yes, but even without a mark, I’m a dead-giveaway. I’m a given.


There is such violence, such forgetting, and such holding on. The Tyrant


is thriving here, deep in these riches. THIS is his hellscape, his want,


I think, until my dentist asks how I’m feeling, and I say, conflicted; I say, still


processing, but it is not enough. (He laughs at that). It’s NOT enough. There is


no sunny side of the street, though I’m looking. I don’t want to pick


sides; I am for what’s humane, yet, again, he asks about my feelings, my


Jewishness and says, even someone Reform, like you, would be taken out


in the street and massacred, and I am stunned, by the prick of his probe, the prick


of his honesty. Jew to Jew: the brutality stuns. The violence is everywhere.

Leah Umansky

Leah Umansky is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently, OF TYRANT, forthcoming with The Word Works in April 2024. She earned her MFA in Poetry at Sarah Lawrence College and has curated and hosted The COUPLET Reading Series in NYC since 2011. Her creative work can be found in such places as The New York Times, The Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, USA Today, POETRY, and American Poetry Review. Her new hybrid-memoir, DELICATE MACHINE, is an exploration of womanhood, hope, and heart in the face of grief and a global pandemic. She can be found at www.leahumansky.com or @leah.umansky on Instagram.



Leah Umansky
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