Abby Caplin, Two Poems

If
Abby Caplin

If, at the moment
of conception,
the matrix
of your corporeality
got plucked from the shelf
near the stove
of Consciousness,
and “you” were ladled
from the hot iron
rim of a dark-holed
kettle, lucky
if paired with soft
rolls and pats
of gold-foiled
buttery love,

while another “you,” by virtue
of spilling from the same
spoon (also into some horses, several
thousand rabbits, a trillion mosquitoes),
worked in a denim factory
in Bangladesh, your
same consciousness
having returned to the brimming
and body to earth
in a flood when you were both
twenty-six,

alive in hundreds of human bodies—
all of you living or having
lived in Caracas, San Francisco,
Cape Town, Seoul
or Gaza, talking Tongan
or Tagalog, your crowds
of relatives, born
of other ladlings, meted out
at their moments,
their own generous servings
of collective selves—

would you still feel
alone?


Song of Songs
Abby Caplin

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—
for your love is more delightful than wine.
Pleasing is the fragrance of…
—Song of Songs 1:2–3

Today the old woman in the babushka
pushed the halvah on me.
Fat chocolate rolls of it lay
on a tray, covered in wrinkly
plastic wrap. I thought
how darling she was to give me a gift,
but charged me an extra
four dollars, stuck me with all
those calories too.
Then I bit into it, my tongue
sliding into wine,

lost—
naked and held
in brambleberries, gaping
at figs oozing of amber,
bathing on a clay
rooftop reflected in Jerusalem’s
wide-eyed moon—

aware only of the drunken
spaceships of crazed
bakery flies zigzagging
in the room’s hot center.

Soft it was, the best
beaten sesame,
gilded in honey and salt.

On each marble table,
waxy white orchids eavesdropped
on the sighs of customers,
falling all over themselves,
leaning in for the kiss.


Abby Caplin’s poems have appeared in Alyss, The Binnacle, Burningword, Common Ground Review, Crack the Spine, The Healing Muse, McNeese, Poetica, The Round, TSR: The Southampton Review, Tikkun, and Willow Review, among others. Her poem “Still Arguing with Old Synagogue” was a finalist for the 2015 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Award, and she is an award recipient of the San Francisco Poets Eleven 2016. She is a physician and practices mind-body medicine in San Francisco. Her website is http://www.abbycaplin.com.

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