A Literary Magazine in Support of the Jewish Community

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"Self-Portrait as Half-Jew Celebrating Hanukkah" by Meghan Sterling

Self-Portrait as Half-Jew Celebrating Hanukkah

o loneliness in the throat like water


that won’t go down, how I choked


when I sat alone with the matches, how


that terror began to shift a soft white


the color of smoke when the pope is finally


chosen o pope in your jeweled gown I felt


the room shiver I imagined the dark eyes


of my forebears like an asterism that had


swallowed me as I lit the menorah alone


in the dark house the hours trembling with


desire for someone to fill the space with


their hands guiding the flicker to flame


o paraffin you taste of December nights alone


in the cold house with rafters tall as a church

Meghan Sterling

Meghan Sterling’s work is published or forthcoming in The Los Angeles Review, The Colorado Review, Rhino Poetry, Meridian, Hunger Mountain, and many others. Self-Portrait with Ghosts of the Diaspora (Harbor Editions), Comfort the Mourners (Everybody Press) and View from a Borrowed Field (Lily Poetry Review’s Paul Nemser Book Prize) came out in 2023. You can read her work at meghansterling.com.



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