The Journal of the AGLSP

XXVI.1 Rozenman 2


Jordana Rozenman is currently a student in the Graduate Institute at St. John’s College in Annapolis. Prior to pursuing her M.A. in Liberal Arts, Jordi was an English teacher, as well as a college counselor and dance coach for high school students. She has had poetry published in the Hill Rag, Colloquy, and Energeia, and she has been a featured poetry reader for DC literary reading series The Inner Loop and for the Capitol Hill Book Fest.

Teaching Fire and Water

Jordana Rozenman, St. John’s College 

Some days

They stare at you
And listening,
Silent, the classroom,
Though they might as well be chirping,
Their mouths open
Waiting for worms
Warm from fresh earth

And so now
They are with you,
With each other,
And with their own mind
All at once,

And their eyes move with you a little bit because
There is something going on behind them, moving, whirring,
They follow your steps, 
And pick up the worms in the wake,
Those words,
Warm with the heat of the fire they came from,
Not the earth but my heart,
Full of fire,
So that the words burn in me
But somewhere between
Me and those open mouths
There is a cooling
Off, so that
By the time the words drop into
Those mouths and those eyes
Those minds
I hope there is still steam
So they can feel
The fire they came from.

And you can feel the difference between
Silence confused, absent, blank,
And the blanket of a silence that holds magic,
You can feel that silence, immediately, warm,
The soft quilt silence of a wisdom just found, together,
We are all there
Because of it we are bound
And we are gazing at it together
From just a few steps ahead of it,
In awe,
In communion,
You step into that hush, or else it falls on you all,
That silence breathes in and out, winking, it lives,
You can feel that, you can reach out your hand and touch that kind
Of silk silence, in the places where the stars aren't peeking through it, and you hold,
So as not to move out from under it.
It is sacred.

And some days
You come home buzzing
Just buzzing
With the vibrations of the noises
And silences of that day and you have to lie in your bed
With your eyes closed,
But your mind spinning,
For half an hour
Before enough of it has seeped out of you
To be able to speak with anyone
Before your heart beats return, normal
You have to lie in your bed eyes closed mind moving
Before you have come down enough even
To be still
And rest there.

But some days

They stare at you
And it's different
And they are not with you
And they do not jump in but resist
And you have to pull them
And they resent the whole way pulling
And on these days
There is no one else there
(Just you and the words)
And you have to pull and pull and sometimes
It works
And one by one you can feel
Them slipping in around you and they join and they are
Inevitably happy once they get there,
It cannot be otherwise,
The turn is immediate
No matter the length, the strength, of the pulling
And they smile and are full
And they wave at you and at each other
As they slip in one by one
And you can feel it
Gathering around you
And you let the pull go
And look around
And relax
And smile
And breathe

But some days

They are not resistant but gone
Some days you can get them,
Most days you can get them,
But some days they want
You to do it
All on your own and they watch
And they do not slip in but the
Entire spark,
If one is to be made,
Rests on the power of your own vitality
It has to fill the room, wide, loud,
It doesn't matter what they feel,
Every day you have to burn,
And how to start,
How to step off into that space,
Away from your comfort
And into that pain,
For it hurts,
It hurts,
And it will,
And it must,
If it means that much
That way is the only,
Every day,
And it's hard,
It's hard,
And the spark—yours—
Waiting, working, burning,
To flare into flame,
And you are alone,
A mountain,
Dripping raindrops
Into the sea that surrounds you
The storm is so loud inside you but
The silence outside is profound
And you think
Where are they
If only
One would reveal
That they yearn
(I know it, I know it, but show—)
And you think,
It's too much
To need that each day
Your gut
Concerning your gut
Where's the worth
And the worms now
Just wriggle
They squirm
But a friend—inadvertent—
Reminds me that
What is to give light
Must endure
The burning
And I think,
Oh God,
I can burn, and burn, and burn,
And shine,
And some days it's me in the dark,
But some days,
When the lightning strikes,
I grab it,
And the storm passes,
And in the light
We are versed.


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