"Where there are fields of mint, but we remember," "I will hold a glass of water in my heart and pray," and "A ghazal with hidden questions and a flame"

Where there are fields of mint, but we remember

Starbucks 6.15.17
- in memory of Denise Levertov

We stand under the silver maple
we stand with those who have left
on the train to sapphire tektites
where there are fields of mint
and girls play cat's cradle and sing
lilting songs and shift and tap their feet
make braids of dandelions

But we remember also the marches
against the wars of horror and shattered bones
who would cry out against Napalm
the burning of villages, not just
one who prophesied in the '60's train
but many friends, many friends
and so humbled by the nod and gaze
of a teacher who was not broken
but continued to write
psalms decrying agony
of that one war

Here I sit at Starbuck's and the pop
voices pounding into our ears
"American Nights" pump pump "American
Nights" -all of us working our
laptops - the Frapuccino in hand
to remember the red wings dripping blood
of my time and space as a young woman
embraced by someone wise
and furious to speak about the horrific
snakes of torture
to her last breath



I will hold a glass of water in my heart and pray

Holding onto a wound is not possible anymore.  The rose bush with its
eyes of darkness makes me cry, because I spoke with the old woman who could not stand
and then she passed.  And everyone remembers her as someone who could laugh
with the best of them.  So I took the train south, to the most tragic city, and communed
with my brother, but you were with me there.  And in the room in which I played my flute
was the image of the moon, and bars on the windows.



A ghazal with hidden questions and a flame

No one ever becomes imbued with the flame of a footstep
the way I have entered into the sentient movement of a deep sigh

When by the picnic table a child came running by as I played
the recorder an ancient tune revived with the breath of an oak leaf

She turned and heard she was a girl named Asha and then she ran
always I'm walking without a walking stick always remembering the praying mantis

Which appeared as a sign as I waited for my son to finish his long talk
the darkness subsumes the hands the waterfall of muteness

And a troubled man returns to a cellar of wounds for this is
The balm of his father's voice in the cello of mine

No one ever forgets the flame of a pattern of rain
and the flame of the footsteps of a young girl who has heard that song

There in the clearing the forest of deep sighs and a fawn
and the lost arrowhead that was held in the palm of the troubled man

Becomes a blue flame in the way we speak to each other
with the gentle hummingbird flutterings flinging to the mountain zenith



Judy Katz-Levine

Judy Katz-Levine has a new book out, The Everything Saint, available from Amazon and published by WordTech Communications. Her other books include Ocarina and When The Arms Of Our Dreams Embrace. A chapbook, When Performers Swim, The Dice Are Cast, emphasizes her work in jazz. Poems and translations have appeared recently in Salamander, Blue Unicorn, Ibbetson Street, Miriam's Well, Writing In A Woman's Voice, and Peacock Journal Anthology. Also a jazz flutist, she enjoys playing jam sessions in the Boston area.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 - 13:17