The Adirondack Review
FALL 2017
Three Poems


Trace your finger along your eyebrow
toward your ear against the outer ridge of bone:

if you slipped your hand beneath
you’d find the lacrimal gland,

which sends droplets over the cornea,
making a thin film,

then draining through the puncta,
two pinpoint-like holes under the lids.

As for abnormal secretions, 
for instance, when they overflow onto the cheeks—

these patients are far easier to treat
than those who produce too few.

Still, I can't answer what you really
want to know, which, it seems,

isn't how they fall
but how we carry them, just so.


                         silence is so accurate. 

Yet, I wonder: 

the kids’ room at night, 


by their breathing weaving the air—

                                                 isn’t that 

the precision I’m after?


Take this morning,

                                      the bath’s ledge:


                                      Vanilla Planifolia, 

Ylang Ylang, 

                          Cocos Nucifera, now and then


essence of Geranium, 

                                                  Rosemary Leaf, 




                        Or the instant

someone long gone I love

                                              glides into the room 

                                                          on a wave of perfume—

and I remember

the Hebrew word for scent

                                              differs by one letter from spirit,

                        as though a single strand

                                  of the Yud

had nestled down inside the Vav.


Coming home, 

                        first thing, I take in 

the lakes. And since 

                       I’ve been gone so long,

                                   all I need 

is to lie back

on my parents’ lawn, 

                        and the whole blue city

                                                wafts up 

from the green, 

green grass.


gold-flecked palaces, 

                                                myrrh and scrim, 

                        chicory and birds

dappled or dipped in ink—and

                                                              a place I can stay, 

           people, leaves that want

                                   to meet the wind,

green things brooding 

in the world to which they’re bound.

                                                          The life and its perfection—

                                                          but only one of them

                                                                      makes a sound.

            Stick around, it seems to say, 

                                                          as if from the air, 

or from a prayer that goes on

                                               making room, and a room 

                        where things hang, for a spell.

ANNIE KANTAR's poems and translations of poetry have appeared in Poetry Daily and Verse Daily, as well as The American Literary Review, Anomaly, Barrow Street, Cincinnati Review, Literary Imagination, Poetry International, Tikkun, and elsewhere. Her translation from the Hebrew of With This Night, the final collection of poetry that Leah Goldberg published during her lifetime, was published by University of Texas Press (2011), and was shortlisted for the ALTA Translation Prize. The recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize and a Fulbright Scholarship to translate Hebrew poetry, she directs the English Program at Shalem College in Jerusalem.