Two poems by Cheryl Moskowitz

Nachteule

She hasn’t seen you yet but she knows you are there –
legend and the lady in the kitchen told her so.
Besides, she heard you hooting on the first night
razor sharp in the dark despite the muffle of sleep
and possible dying. It’s a call she recognises like
a mother who knows the wail of her own child
even when he is 19 years old, wilful and impossible
coming back late with friends through the park
and something makes her bolt from her bed the
sudden urgent way all important, but hidden, things
happen; an owl’s screech, a car’s swerve, the sound
an animal makes when it cries out in the night to be heard
to be rescued, to be loved.
 
(previously unpublished)
 
 
Jasmine Street

if the swing’s still there
beside the garage
tied to the sycamore
if the air still smells
of tyres and lavender
and my feet don’t
touch the ground
even now if the
screen door flaps
wide and mosquitoes
hide in the cool
of the cellar between
white laundered
sheets dried hard
and the fat folds
of a child’s elbow
if the mosaic pattern
on the kitchen stairs
and linoleum floor
has all the colours
in that box of Crayolas
and the wood grain
where the bath towel
hangs is a camel riding
a donkey into the woods
then I grant you
it is possible
to retrieve
a fresh faced mother
in pedal pushers
and gardening shears
tending peonies
red curtained skirts
brushing the earth
heavy heads bowing
low as if to say
Ladies and Gentleman
Boys and Girls look
this way the show
is about to begin.
 
(prizewinner in Mslexia Poetry Competition, published in issue 67)
 
 
Cheryl Moskowitz was born in Chicago and moved to the UK in 1970, aged 11. Previously an actor, she trained in Psychodynamic Counselling and Dramatherapy and writes for adults and children. Her poetry is published in magazines including Magma, Poetry Review and the Long Poem Magazine in the UK and in the US; Manhattan Review, Drunken Boat, Prairie Schooner and World Literature Today. Other publications include novel, Wyoming Trail, Granta (1998), poetry for children, Can it Be About Me? Frances Lincoln (2012) and poetry collection The Girl is Smiling, Circle Time Press (2012).