for Rachel Tzivia Back, U. of Minnesota Symposium
on Jewish American Poetry, Feb. 17, 2013
We stood as she instructed around the stone of losses,
declared what we had found
and waited for other Jews to claim it.
Centuries inspected us: had we fallen
out of their pockets?
Were our voices theirs?
God said, I’ve lost and claim you all.
We insisted — it’s the job of poets and lost-and-founds —
that we couldn’t give ourselves up
unless God got more specific.
Joy Ladin is Gottesman Professor of English at Yeshiva University and the author of six books of poetry. Her memoir, “Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders,” was a finalist for a 2012 National Jewish Book Award, and a Forward Fives winner.