First Warm Weekend in May

by Anna Halberstadt

First warm weekend in May
a single puffy cloud like foam in a cappuccino
against a perfectly blue background.
In Union Square behind
bouquets of lilacs in buckets
of cold water
an eight-year-old future math prodigy
is playing a blitz with a middle-aged
chess professional
of narrowly local ranking
a dollar fifty per game
at a folding table
proud father watching behind his son’s back.
After a hard week at work
feeling almost let down without a purpose
other than boring house chores
drained for once in a long time
by people.
Longing for respite from the crowd
parade of dancers in pink tutus
pirates in feathered hats
passersby greedily
absorbing the sun’s rays
after a long stretch of cold and gloom.
Thinking of the woman in Ida filmed jumping
out the open window to Bach’s
Concerto for Two Violins
beautifully
like an Olympic diving champion
or a tired seraphim flying back
to heaven
away from the people
who still wouldn’t get it together.

 

Anna Halberstadt has published many works in the field of psychology but has found poetry to be a more adequate and condensed way to expand on the same themes—growing up as a child of Holocaust survivors in a country still struggling with past trauma, living in three countries (Lithuania, Russia, U.S.), and immigration. She was a finalist in the 2013 Mudfish poetry contest. Her creative work has been published by Amarillo Bay, Alembic, Bluestem. Cimarron Review, Forge, Good Men Project, Mudfish, St. Petersburg Review, Permafrost, Crack the Spine, Rio Grande Review, Jewish Women’s Literary Annual and Tiferet, and translations of her poems in the Lithuanian journals Literatūra Ir Menas and Šiaurės Atėnai. Her poetry in Russian was published in the international anthology Nash Krym (KRiK, New York) in winter 2014. Her collection of poetry Vilnius Diary was published in the Mudfish Individual Poet Series, Box Turtle Press, in summer 2014. Poem “I Was Reborn” was nominated for the Pushcart Prize 2014 by the Mudfish journal.

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