Rachel Levitsky's first full-length volume of poetry, Under the Sun, was published by Futurepoem books in 2003. She is the author of five chapbooks of poetry.

Diaspora by Rachel Levitsky

     for Renee

From when I visited distant ancestors who like
Me gave away words until they gave up words
And fell into dreams and daydreams of old-fashioned
Fancy flat footsteps entertainment halls well
Dressed big round tables black and white checkered
Floors pantomimes droopy dying machinations time
Worn complaints who loudly claimed a righteous
Self-mutilation reformed and renamed
Self-preservation. The self should not give up so much
Of itself once the built up disgust of long term
Under use articulates the shows and hides of
Affection seek identical parades.

But for my father they did not speak. They dropped
Feathers like hawks poked by screaming pursuers in
Black garb. Plucked and silent they continue from above
They maintain a sense of what’s funny and what isn’t
And will eye you suspiciously when you think you are
But you’re not when you say things like     Over there that
Pine tree’s astoundingly bright green color only
Exists for us because of its reaction with the midday ray
Of light. Though they know you speak the truth they
Prefer you to know when they would know a thing and
When they would need to be reminded or warned
With time to bolt the door and leave a generous note of thanks.

I miss them their identical noses and gravel
Voices the looks of worry in their faces un-
Expected tender caresses rumor that nights
Once filled with loving didn’t actually cease.
I’m not afraid anymore of what a lover
Can do to me but what they don’t—I wear the mark
Of antecedent. There have been many upon
This boardwalk now they are gone replaced by ones with
Fur hats & breath stench like seagull. He goes around and
Around. He can’t help it the manipulator is
Rotating a shiny spot below. I want to walk
Into the surface. It’s an ocean. It is cold.