Love & Death: Greatest Hits, which was published by Tres Chicas Books in 2011, is a collaboration between “co-conspirators, friends for over twenty-five years, and founders of Tres Chicas Books Renée Gregorio, Joan Logghe, and Miriam Sagan.” The trio write about love, death, and friendship and aim to “create not just a book but a sense of community.”
Love & Death: Greatest Hits is a winner of a 2011 New Mexico Book Award in Poetry.
What follows is a selected poem from the collection, written by Joan Logghe, Santa Fe’s Poet Laureate.
Dark Train Pulling
You, I haven’t seen since the turn of the century.
There was a train then, always about to depart.
Or a letter traveling across Europe by rail.
A boat full of people who all looked forward
towards a better life of tailor shops and diamonds,
away from the small villages of Estonia.
In the old country, you lived in Hungary
But you weren’t Hungarian. Russia,
But you weren’t Russian. You were only a Jew
And not allowed to purchase land.
I want you like my people wanted soil.
That was the trick, my wanting and your no.
Denial works to wed a past to longing.
And now, like a promised land, you arrive.
Startling horizon, your suitcase,
something foreign stamped on the side.
A message I’ve needed all my life,
“Lose everything,” it says, “You know how.”
You arrived from the other country,
the past, dark train pulling, sparks over coal.
At death, there’s another tunnel.
Of all the faces and the bright light,
yours will still beckon towards a bliss.
My dark hair, your dark hair, an America.
Originally from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Naomi is the executive director of Jewish Book Council. She graduated from Emory University with degrees in English and Art History and, in addition, studied at University College London. Prior to her role as executive director, Naomi served as the founding editor of the JBC website and blog and managing editor of Jewish Book World. In addition, she has overseen JBC’s digital initiatives, and also developed the JBC’s Visiting Scribe series and Unpacking the Book: Jewish Writers in Conversation.