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Two Poems by Charlotte Mandel


Birthday Inventory

in memoriam of Irwin D Mandel


I use as paperweights


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



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.

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