Grace Schulman

G
Grace Schulman
Horses on the Grass
From the tower window
the moon
draws a silver maple’s shadow
across a spangled lawn;
horses
rear, manes lashing the air,
front legs floating.
Half monarch,
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New Netherland, 1654
Pardon us for uttering a handful
of words in any language, so cut loose
are we from homes, and from His name that is still
nameless, blessed be He. We raised a prayer house—

that is, we broke new wood for one, but some
tough burned it, snarling: “Carve only stones for the dead.”
Damp ground, no fire, no psalm we all remember.
But tall ships anchor here, and at low tide,
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The Stars and the Moon
In Legends of the Jews, Lewis Ginzberg writes that an Egyptian princess hung a tapestry woven with diamonds and pearls above King Solomon’s bed. When the king wanted to rise, he thought he saw stars and, believing it was night, slept on. Scaling ladders with buckets of white enamel,
I painted the stars and the moon on my windowpanes
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American Solitude
“The cure for loneliness is solitude.”
—Marianne Moore Hopper never painted this, but here
on a snaky path his vision lingers:
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Balm in Gilead
“Is there no balm in Gilead?” So cries
dour Jeremiah in granite tones.
“There is a balm in Gilead,” replies
a Negro spiritual. The baritone

who chants it, leaning forward on the platform,
looks up, not knowing his voice is a rainstorm
that rinses air to reveal earth’s surprises.
Today, the summer gone, four monarch butterflies,
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Crossing the Square
Squinting through eye-slits in our balaclavas,
we lurch across Washington Square Park
hunched against the wind, two hooded figures
caught in the monochrome, carrying sacks

of fruit, as we’ve done for years. The frosted, starch-
stiff sycamores make a lean Christmas tree
seem to bulk larger, tilted under the arch
and still lit in three colors. Once in January,
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The Flight
That day I hired a private detective to follow me,
and could not read his notes. In a tangled grove,
I hid behind white pines, compressed my body,
then watched him write, left-handed and myopic,
under an Irish cap, when I asked for help
from strangers who spoke Slavic languages.
Wary, moving ahead, I found a depot,
watched an immense train churn, haloed in steam,
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Job’s Question on Nevis
“Turn back!” was all she snapped out as she passed
in a red dress that caught sunrays through mist.
I saw her lurch upwind, kick off spiked heels,
climb out to the edge of a knife-sharp rockpile,

and, arms outstretched, lead the sea’s tympani,
lure the din, guiding the steamy waves
to shore. Will the Almighty answer me?
she sang out to the ocean’s rising octaves,
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