Jewish Journal

Talmud Study

by Carly Sachs

March 28, 2013 | 4:10 am

How do you measure anything —
count your deaths, who loves you, who loves you knot.
Today you are the ox, tomorrow the victim
of the gorging ox.
You build a house, you are holy,
but your walls are shaky.
Inside there is wine to be drunk.
Outside there is a plague.
You are on the wrong page.
Someone is coming to town on a donkey.
He will insult your intelligence
then ask for forgiveness.
Everything is a ratio, parts of the whole.
You watch the ants as they crawl across your plate.
You snuff out every third one with your pinky finger.
Years later they will say, blood, frogs, boils,
but what are they remembering
Your house is falling —
who is the protagonist and what is it that he wants?

Carly Sachs is the recipient of the 2012 Charlotte Newberger Poetry Prize; “the stream sequence” is her first collection of poetry.

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