Miriam caught me sneaking a thin slab of dark chocolate last night.

“Mom, why are you having caffeine now? . . . I want some!”

“Miriam you can’t have any because it’s too late and you won’t be able to sleep”

“Why do you get to?”

“Well, because I am old”

“You’re not old!”

This was welcome confusion on the part of my just turned three year old.

“Well then what am I?”

“You’re new.”

Halleluiah for the eyes of my child who is learning the English language, but not so well that she yet understands that

houses and and purses and macbooks and jean jackets and cars can be new

but people,

we can only be young or old . . .

as with Jerusalem,

whose crumbling artifacts dissapear into the rubble of war and time

old skin, shall never be younger

never stretch plump round warm infant thighs again.

I shall never lose the mark over my right brow where I scratched at my

chicken pox

or the scar on my hip where I spilled from my bike on the red gravel road

too far from my home for anyone to hear me cry


my skin will never, unless i pay for it, move taught over my abdomen

as if i myself had not born new life inside



I am not constantinople

or brussels or rio

or new york

I will not be old and gone forever

i am more like zion

and so i do not care

if the earth is young or old

and i’m glad to wear the signs of

the familiar furrows made permanent

as i think towards hope

and grow weary,

Because Miriam is right.

Jerusalem and I

and the earth

with all her secrets