sitting at my desk—morning,
New England—and spring has a grip
on the yard—riot of daffodils,
celadon fringe on maples, tulips
firing up the gardens separating
my land from my neighbors’.
I pick up the phone, call my daughter
on her cell; that I can do this at all
is a miracle. That she answers,
another. She’s late and lost
in Jerusalem, walking past
Notre Dame, the Armenian quarter,
Mount of Olives in the distance.
Oh, I know where I am, she says,
relief in her voice.
She’s moving down
Engineering Corps Street,
Arab music on her left,
Hebrew on her right. This is
her trek, fine line between Arab
and Jew. I say, wouldn’t
nice to meet in Northampton
for lunch? She reminds me
that I’m reading poetry tonight,
she’s on her way to visit a friend
with a new baby. I tell her
the daffodils are beautiful here,
like trumpets blasting yellow
through leaves I‘ve yet to rake.
She says she can see the green hills
of Lebanon from her window
back in Nazareth. Neither of us
mentions her room there is a fall-
out shelter. There’s an explosion.
What was that? I shout.
A car backfiring, she says,
relax, Mom. My phone card,
the small miracle that let’s me
talk to this child of mine
for seven cents a minute, gives out.
She’s gone. I want to touch
Instead, I make peace,
again, with her need to be
where peace is a matter of life
and death, an occasional absence
of bloodshed, of war, where
so all-fired sure she can be of use.
Pit Pinegar is a poet, novelist, essayist, playwright, and photographer. She has three books of poetry: Nine Years Between Two Poems, The Possibilities of Empty Space, and, The Physics of Transmigration (nominated for a 2006 Pulitzer Prize). She is a teaching artist at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, the Center for Creative Youth at Wesleyan University, and Litchfield Performing Arts, Inc., all located in Connecticut, U.S.A. She also directs the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival's Urban Outreach Program. Pinegar has been a teaching director at the International Women's Writing Guild conference at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY and visiting writer in the University of New Orleans MFA program in Madrid, Spain. She has been writer- (or creator-) in-residence in a wide range of schools and universities. Her adult programs include Writing to Heal, A Creative Life/no matter what! She has received a fellowship in fiction from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts and the Governor's Distinguished Advocate of the Arts Award. She was a 2006 Surdna Foundation Fellow. Also in 2006, sge spent six weeks in residence at Footpaths to Creativity on the Island of Flores in the Azores. Pinegar lived with her young family in Saudi Arabia in the 1980s, and that experience continues to inform and inspire her work, both poetry and prose. She is poetry editor of an anthology being developed in Saudi Arabia to include the work of both Saudi Arab poets and other nationals who have called Saudi Arabia home. Her current projects include a book-length series of short poems about Saudi Arabia and a sequence of poems, mostly sonnets in the voices of Gaspara Stampa, a sixteenth century Venetian sonneteer, her paramour, Count Collaltino de Collato, and his long-suffering wife.