M I C H A L
L E I B O W I T Z
about the poet
Michal Leibowitz was born and raised in White Plains, NY.
Her poetry has recently been published or is forthcoming in Bone Bouquet, Boxcar Poetry Review, and the Greensboro Review. Michal’s work has been recognized by the Adroit Prizes for Poetry and Prose, the Lex Ann Literary Festival, and the Norman Mailer Center. She is the recipient of CALYX Journal’s 2016 Lois Cranston Memorial Poetry Prize.
There Were No Tulips
that winter, but the crows stayed.
Ruffled their skins from the telephone
wires. Crowed as they were wont to do.
We did not ask for things
to be anything
but what they were. Still,
I wrote you. Compared your hands
to flat top mesas. Compared your lips
to December’s vane.
Winter had always been
a blade. Like your paring knife on a chestnut’s
leather, like a scalpel on the wet
membranes of a frog.
It was not the seasons that changed.
Outside, the fields are shaved
with silence. The school
children whisper something
about a girl.
In Katonah, spring
likes to make an entrance.
She numbs me.
I write a piece of dust
· · ·
Pen on Paper, 2017
from the poet
“May Psalm” and “There Were No Tulips” are products of class I took last spring with visiting poet Jane Hirshfield. At the time, I was struggling to write poems that were grounded, but free of conventionally explicit narratives.
For me, “May Psalm” is a mourning poem. It’s a quiet poem, a poem that looks outwards but speaks inwards. It’s also one of the only poems I’ve written that barely changed between the first and final draft. “There Were No Tulips” is a poem that came together around an image: five crows on a telephone wire. My favorite part is the sentence “Crowed as they were wont to do.”