Judy Lechner



Revision

Four years old
I ate letters
dipped in honey.
They gave me a taste
for learning
certainties.

The letters piled
up I made of
them a ladder
then a fence
then a tower.

The letters turned
to swords.
In the heat of battle
they burned brittle
and could not be
swallowed anymore.

Now I’ve melted
them down
to build a new
alphabet.


Bone of My Bone

They say even women marry our mothers.
That’s my story.
His bearded lips coo in my ear
"Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh,"
He so pleased to be co-creator
with God, to share dominion.

God, indulgent Father, even let
His little image bearer name me
"Woman" wo-man
"out of man"
because, man told me
I was made from just one
supporting pillar in his temple.

He complains
sometimes he feels a pang
where that rib once was.
I know he has never regained
his balance
by the way he leans on me.


Boris Pasternak in a Stetson

My grandpa used up his days ironing
other people's clothes
while brothers
                        Harry, Herman, Sam
pseudonymed "Mrs. Sayre's Hand Laundry"
tended counter, folded, packed, delivered.

A living, yes, but dull
days sparked only by the numbers runner,
music, corny jokes on the radio.

Nights, he journeyed in Yiddish
                        with Singer, Sforim, Aleichem
his immigrant English too lean for
                        Verne, Dickens, Wells
worlds translated for him at
Broadway movie palaces.

Favoring Westerns
he dubbed them American History,
regretted not daring westward off the boat in '04.
I picture his Boris Pasternak profile
                        under a Stetson
galloping into his future with
a horseman's confidence
leaving the Pale of Settlement
in his dust.


Fired Up

Found refuge in an icicle
Sought its chilly embrace
froze myself into unnatural positions.

Then you came along, you salamander
you, with just the right heat to
liquify my fears.

Your love
has turned me to charcoal
hot to the touch.

Like you
I’m dark on the outside
golden on the inside.


About the Author

Judy Lechner wrote her first poem at age 10 and will, with the least encouragement, recite it for you. She has been a featured reader in many venues in Ulster County and is a member of the Woodstock Poetry Society and Poets House in New York. Her poems have been recently published in Half Moon Review and The Country and Abroad and are forthcoming in Jews and Home Planet News. A former reading and English teacher, her poems, stories, and articles for children have appeared in many publications.

(click here to close this window)