Marilyn Schotland

Photograph of my Mother in Havana with Rabbits


Kodachrome: little red skirt,

a frown that I have




from her face. Rabbits like

baby’s              breath.


She’s not old

enough to

figure out how diaspora cuts

a path across





1937: it’s too early to get to the United States,

so Cuba is        temporary. It was never this




Really, this could have been



but sometimes

I think Havana only exists

in wedding photographs.


& then I remember

that their synagogue was                      seized

to show flicks:



a projector where the

chuppah once was.


Unroll the                                        Torah,

unroll the                                         screen.


“I heard G-d moved into the movie palace last week.”


All this to say,


I share one tongue out

of the four of my grandmother’s.


I, waterlogged Hydra: cut off

one more &

brand the stump: I cannot count


how many

I’ve lost.


I only know

how to speak


in order not to             drown.


It’s funny, mi madre learned

the finer points of English

from the Mickey Mouse Club.


It’s been over half a century & still

no promise of return. We cannot


smuggle ourselves back in

the way they smuggled out


my grandfather’s

medical school diploma.


Today, my mother sends me a text:

“I miss the rabbits.”



The King of Swords


in the Rider Waite tarot

looks a hell of a lot like T. E. Lawrence at the

Battle of Aqaba in 1917.


Not real Lawrence,

of course.


1962 Peter O’Toole Lawrence.

Tall, dashing, & making eyes at Omar Sharif.

(There are no women in this movie.)


You love him is not

a question.


I fear him is not

an answer.

                                    (Then why do you weep?)


Can you lionize

a dozen gazes across the sand & call it righteous?


What is bloodlust but

distortion in a mirror,

a motorcycle, or a molten desert?


Here is a whole history of violence

in a glance.


It’s only as daring as a jump

cut from blown out match

to sunrise.


Those lips have

far better uses than carving up the heavens with desire.


He wants all of it. Good G-d,

all of it. Call it arrogance or

hunger, but anatomy isn’t divinity.


If nothing is written,

then it is time to ride out roaring


on all fours

into the



Someday, I will walk into the desert & never come out




Marilyn Schotland is a poet from Philadelphia currently studying for a BA in History of Art at the University of Michigan. She is the recipient of a Hopwood Award and a nominee for Bettering American Poetry. Recent and forthcoming publications can be found in Cotton Xenomorph, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Five:2:One, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal.

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