Best when visiting the very old
not to use your senses
but the same layers of the mind
reserved for chess, mathematics,
molecular physics

Because the very old
become more abstract each day

Their once familiar shapes giving way
to lines and angles
that verge upon caricature
even  as they fade, recede.

Recollecting their former selves
will only  make  matters worse,
the contrast futile
as conjuring a Rembrandt or Renoir
when viewing an art therapy show--
stick-figures with spiked hair
boats composed of  jagged black threads.

At best you can close your eyes
conjugate in your head all the verbs
you've learned by heart.

If that doesn't work, imagine yourself
on a plane not long after  take-off
at that point when the blue-green runway lights
and lamps from windows of  familiar buildings
seem more distant than the stars.


the round walls of old cities
bracelets of flamenco dancers
cambium  layers fingerprint-whorls

no metaphor can elucidate
why so many rings within rings

ice, rocks, and dust
some braided, some a pale red
knotted thin elliptical 

but this much I know
from my earthly, my only

the saturnine need
such labyrinths of light

to see the contours of their darkness
especially its edges and rims

lest they forget that as children  of winter
they have a flair for the slanted
shapes of  light, door-cracks, thin stripes

the facets of  diamonds
to be plucked  from the snow

if they dare break
the circumference of sadness

Summer 2004 Issue

Winter 2004

Summer 2003 Issue

Editor's Note


SNR's Writers



Those blue and magenta hydrangeas:
if  I did not know everything
is upside-down here, a dome's mirror image,
those hydrangeas blooming in a Santiago alley,
late January, would arouse my already keen
     sense  of doubt--
A mere fluke: akin to meeting a golden  unicorn, seeing
a cloud's inner lining; waking up fluent in Spanish--
     instead of inspiring my gratitude for doubleness,
the two-fold nature of every plot, earth,  moon,
shadow, mirror, idea, the split halves of a rock.

--Santiago, Chile

Barbara F. Lefcowitz has published eight collections of poetry, the most recent, Photo Bomb Red Chair, came out this past spring.   She has also published a novel and individual poems, stories, and essays in over 500 journals, and has won writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Rockefeller Foundation, among many others.  She lives in Bethesda, Maryland and is also a visual artist.

Copyright 2004, Barbara Lefcowitz. This work is protected under the U.S. copyright laws. It may not be reproduced, reprinted, reused, or altered without the expressed written permission of the author.