Pleated Skirt (Tante Fela)

Helena Lipstadt was born in Berlin and lives in Los Angeles and Blue Hill, Maine. Lipstadt’s poems have been featured in Rattling WallLilithBridgesSinister WisdomTrivia: Voices of FeminismMedium and Common LivesLesbian Lives. Her writing has also appeared in the following anthologies: The Challenge of Shalom, From Memory to Transformation, and Every Woman I’ve Ever Loved: Lesbian Writers on Their Mothers, Lipstadt is the author of two chapbooks, Leave Me Signs and If My Heart Were A Desert. Her prose-poem Do Widzenia won silver in the Travelers Tales’ Solas Awards. Lipstadt has also been a writer-in-residence at the WUJS Institute’s Arad Arts Program in Arad, Israel, and at The Borderland Foundation in Sejny, Poland.


Pleated Skirt (Tante Fela)

I am not as tall as I was
when I looked like Polly Bergen
and strolled down the shady
Warsaw sidewalk, a leather bag
in the crook of my arm.
Today I am bent
like a Palestine sunflower
picked over by crows.

In the courtyard below, the clatter
of quick feet on stone. The Hasidim
to their morning prayers,
me to mine in the kitchen.
I stretch these knuckled fingers for my coffee
and find a ghost battering out of the steam.

I still have the skirt pushed
to the back of my closet,
pleats like knives.
Like a locust in stubble
after the hay is cut
I have made my peace.

But the blowing sand talks to me
of such long loneliness
I sometimes look for
what is no longer here,
a man in a certain gray suit
with his hat
tilted over
his eyes.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s