Two Poems

by Dvorah Telushkin

Evil Wise Girl

I know now
That you live inside me.
I know
That you’re mean.
I know that
You curse my children
On a specific trigger
From a vacuum.
The trigger sparks
Like the woman from Bank Street who told you she only works
With teachers
Is not speaking to parents.
Or the psychologist at High School
“We’re back where we started with Sherry…
Her knapsack again. Unorganized again.”
Snap.
You take over…
Mad.
Like an animal
“They failed us. They failed our child.
They have small minds.
Do they say one word about her drawings?
Do they say one word about her paintings?
Do they say one word about her interpretation of the Greek Myths?
No. The pencil isn’t sharpened.
I bark. But it’s you barking.
You, in truth, are the boss.
I smile sheepishly when you bark at my husband.
And I smile sheepishly when you bark at my children.
And the sad truth is I smile when you
Bark at me.

A Private Vampire

If someone
Is not alive
And they live
Despite
The dust,
The un-substance
Crumble
Of insides.
The power
Of a beating heart
That
Beats itself.

Beats,
Flagellates
It’s own
Organs.
A living
Internal
Metaphoric
Vampire
Lusting on
It’s own
Intestines
Chewing with
Teeth
Made of
Razors.
Dripping blood
From a mouth
That cannot
Taste.

Between 1975-1988 Dvorah Telushkin worked as a personal assistant, editor, and translator for Isaac Bashevis Singer, the Yiddish writer who won the 1978 Nobel Prize in Literature. Her translations appeared in The New Yorker, and in collections of Mr. Singer’s stories published by Farrar Straus and Giroux.
Dvorah Telushkin has had a side career as a storyteller and performer of Jewish folklore and literature. She draws much of the material from the classic Yiddish writers and mystics.
In 1997, she published her memoir, Master of Dreams, telling the story of her twelve-year apprenticeship with Mr. Singer. The book received wide critical attention, including a review in The New York Times. The Weekly Standard called the book “a fully realized portrait of a writer… a reminder that the author’s life was as fascinating as his best fiction.” Master of Dreams was released in paperback, and has also been published in an Hungarian translation.
She is currently completing her first novel, The Cry of the Loon. In addition, she has recently completed a one-woman show, In Search of the Perfect Pocketbook, which is currently being launched. And a pocketbook she designed, which is trademarked “Bag N’ Bag accompanies the show.
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