Post­ed by Nao­mi Firestone-Teeter

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 CEO 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.