By Chana Bloch Chana Bloch

We remember the rabbit when we see                                                
the duck, but we cannot experience
both at the same time
                                                   —E.H. Gombrich, Art and Illusion

WHAT do you remember? When I looked at
his streaky glasses, I wanted
to leave him. And before that? He stole those
cherries for me at midnight. We were walking
in the rain and I loved him.
And before that? I saw him coming
toward me that time at the picnic,
edgy, foreign.
But you loved him? He sat in his room with
the shades drawn, brooding. But you
loved him? He gave me
a photo of himself at sixteen, diving
from the pier. It was summer. His arms
outstretched. And before that?
His mother was combing his soft curls
with her fingers and crying. Crying.
Is that what he said? He put on the straw hat
and raced me to the barn. What did he
tell you? Here’s the dried rose, brown
as tobacco. Here’s the letter that I tore
and pasted. The book of blank pages
with the velvet cover. But do you still
love him? When I rub the nap
backwards, the colors lift,
bristle. What do you mean?
Sometimes, when I’m all alone,
I find myself stroking it.

Chana Bloch, "Eating Babies" from The Past Keeps Changing. Copyright © 1992 by Chana Bloch.  Reprinted by permission of The Sheep Meadow Press.

Source: The Past Keeps Changing (The Sheep Meadow Press, 1992)

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Poet Chana Bloch

Subjects Living, The Mind, Love, Break-ups & Vexed Love, Realistic & Complicated

 Chana  Bloch


Chana Bloch is the author of four books of poems: The Secrets of the Tribe, The Past Keeps Changing, Mrs. Dumpty, and Blood Honey. She is co-translator of the biblical Song of Songs as well as contemporary Israeli poetry—most recently The Selected Poetry of Yehuda Amichai and his Open Closed Open, and Hovering at a Low Altitude: The Collected Poetry of Dahlia Ravikovitch. Among her awards are the Poetry Society of America's Di . . .

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SUBJECT Living, The Mind, Love, Break-ups & Vexed Love, Realistic & Complicated

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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