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New Poem

My poem titled "What I Say to My Birth Father as I Stand at the Edge of the Sea" appears in the Muleskinner Journal in a themed issue regarding "glitches" published on January 31, 2024. You can read the poem below or visit the journal here. The poem appears on page 85.


Your journey begins before 1920, on a Friday

in Glasgow when you’re late for Shabbos dinner,

and your father demands you turn out your pockets,

throw a week’s worth of earnings into the street.

Deep water transforms you into a sailor,

although you lack a sextant, an opportunity to study stars;

you load and unload cargo, mop floors when you yearn

to hoist canvas, have a hand on the wheel.

When you reach shore, you cross the border that travels

Detroit’s river, arrive in a city, once ribbon farms, that sends

autos down assembly lines, a steady stream that spills

into a world far-flung from your father’s cold-water flat,

a restless universe hinted at in your father’s early journal

I suspect you never saw, where he recorded days spent

with his palette, brushes, attempts to harness churned sky,

the North Sea that, like him, you’ll never lay eyes on again,

and after a patchwork of years filled with late, Friday nights,

you find a girl who makes you feel grounded, like a Scottish

gentleman farmer, solid as stone, while she, young and fluid,

simply looks for a few evenings of shelter,

and one morning, in broad light, sets you adrift

with what hums in your ear—family at a table,

the heartbeat of a child you don’t know exists

—until you hit the inevitable snag, and claim

the earth beneath a rock in a sea of blue salvia and coreopsis,

far from where you started—just what I imagine you wanted

most—landing in this place where I, stunned to find you

after all these years, visit for the first time, pebble in my hand.

--Diana Dinverno


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