Florence Weinberger: Three Poems

Florence Weinberger is the author of four published collections of poetry,The Invisible Telling Its Shape (Fithian Press,1997) and Breathing Like a Jew (Chicory Blue Press, 1997), and Carnal Fragrance, (Red Hen Press, 2004), and Sacred Graffiti, (Tebot Bach, 2010.)
Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, her poetry has appeared in a number of literary magazines, including The Comstock Review, Nimrod, Poetry East, The Literary Review, Solo, Rattle, Pacific Review, Askew, Calyx, Jacaranda Review, Manhattan Poetry Review, The River Styx, Another Chicago Magazine, The Pedestal and The Los Angeles Review.  Poems have also been published in many anthologies, including Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust, Truth and Lies That Press For Life,  Invocation LA , The New Los Angeles Poets, Ghosts of the Holocaust ,  Grand PassionThe Cancer Poetry ProjectSo Luminous the Wildflowers.  and most recently, The Widows’ Handbook.  She served as a judge for the Pen/USA Literary Awards.


A double helix nicks the begotten
and kicks out Kim
pervious infant inquisitive kid a teen
too soon self-inventing
from genetic bequests
tattooed friends on the block
the arc of her eyebrow grandfathered in.
Hope is the thing with feathers
that keeps its love while she flies out of
the baby pics I kept.
The sliver of silver piercing her nose
gleams like a bead of snot.
Her body serving a practiced sulk
sticks pins in itself
like map locators pin-pointing pain
postponed for the future.
Her tongue stuck with its brash harm
flicks the small groove above her lip
stitched over a new vocabulary.
A toe ring augurs a path
of lost resistance.
Indifference has no better choir
but I am the fool who mothers faith
she will one day know the gospel of the navel
marvel of the body that came out of mine.

The Sun Sets Miles From the Rothko Chapel in Houston

Something’s different this time. The setting sun’s become
a deep amber seam between a teal-colored sea and a smoldering sky.

Makes me think God’s finger’s marking some intention
or granting wishes, like the green flash, the auroras

Rothko’s paintings showing how the heart melds
what is clearly incompatible

how you can sit inside Rothko’s blacks and purples
until night falls and levels everything.


The End of Strife in a Single Word

Coming from the country of insufficiency
where scant grasses and chicken feet could be a meal
my mother, undaunted by the way her languages
were sometimes not enough to make a hearty sentence,
stuck together syllables, phrases, breath and alienation.
On days it rained hard hours on her marketing rounds,
she pictured clouds so laden with water
that when they cracked open would empty
and empty and finally empty so completely
it would never rain again, it would be done,
and for that she had a single word, ausgereigent, hard g’s.
Now you might want to know what this has to do with pogroms
and words like kike or spic or chink that get under the skin like ticks.
Maybe nothing, maybe everything, that’s the way of translation,
a woman turns a cloudburst into bliss, drains it like a boil,

paints it into a blue sky, a clear day, stilled water drying in the sun.

What are you looking for?