© 2018 THE LONG ISLAND LITERARY JOURNAL

Two Poems by Charlotte Mandel

 

Birthday Inventory

in memoriam of Irwin D Mandel

 

I use as paperweights

awards

engraved with your name:

 

—bronze medallion

—amber crystal globe

—glass pyramid    a prism

reaching for eternity

 

—three clocks

    faithful to their batteries

    arrow narrow hands

unequal in length and pace

    clasping once an hour

 

—and I

   since our wedding

   engraved with syllables

   of your name

   sounded in tones

   of love or scold

 

  beat of my pulse

  counterpoint

 

lift a glass

to your portrait

smiling on my birthday

exactly as it will tomorrow

 

 

Historic Flood Rondeau

August 2017

 

Sky's lost the turn-off valve—a river crests—

torrents uproot billboards, drown farm beasts.

Rubber dinghies row on street and highway.

Two-story roof's a life raft till doomsday

sky finds the turn-off valve.

 

Is that a child—hurry—quick nets are cast—

pull in a doll—open-eyed, bedraggled, dressed

in a daisy print, curls a thatch of hay.

Where is the turn-off valve?

 

Church bells mute with muck—no sun-day of rest.

Label climate change or biblical test—

rain swallows newsprint.  Whatever's at play

ends in survivor counts. The runaway

sky's lost the turn-off valve.

 

Charlotte Mandel’s most recent book of poetry is THROUGH A GARDEN GATE, poems in response to photographs of the garden in Long Island created and photographed by Vincent Covello (David Robert Books 2015).  A new collection, TO BE THE DAYLIGHT, is forthcoming from White Violet Press.  Several of the poems are inspired by time on beaches in the Hamptons.  Previous titles include two poem-novellas of feminist biblical revision—THE LIFE OF MARY and THE MARRIAGES OF JACOB.