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   Michal  Mahgerefteh

                                                    Poetry and Art                                                                                                      

“I will build an altar from the broken

fragments of my heart.”


— Rabbi Yehuda HaChasid 


FishMoon Poetry Collection
Forthcoming May 2022


My father cared for my cancer-ill mother

for over thirty years, he even took early
retirement 
to travel and enjoy family events.

But after her passing in 2010, he sunk into
depression; there was nobody to care for,
he couldn't care for himself and refused help. 

This collection is about depression

in older adults and about my relationship
with father 
after my mother's passing.

This book is a sequence
to "What's Left Behind" collection.


Caregiver


Early morning light woke the rooster’s dawning call -

Looking for my father, I ran outside, climb on top of

the weathered brick wall, scan the vast orange grove;


Father was at the edge of the property picking sweet

lemon from the neighbor's trees, in his hand a bucket

of ripe blackberries he picked from the sandy veranda.


My grandmother Mami took his blue jacket, adorned

with police medals and ribbons, carefully placed it on

the back of his chair, and we all sat around Moroccan


silver trey for early breakfast; I could sense tension,

father spoke with a disembodied voice, “Today was my

last day, I will take care of her,” kissed her rosy cheeks. 


Copyright by Michal Mahgerefteh

Rare


“What a lazy generation...” midday in coffee shops

sipping cafe namess, fresh-squeezed Jaffa orange,

cheese burekas for breakfast, “They don’t care…”


They work with computers…we live in the digital era,

read books, take classes, write letters, run a business,

“I don’t know computers,” he says, but I reminded him


how long ago he rejected the luxury of convenience,

like video chats with his ten grandchildren, discussing

health concerns with his physician, smartphone to view


photos and occasionally say ‘Hi’ in a text… but no, you

kept the black vintage phone with a rotary dial and long

twisted cord that doesn’t reach your chair, such wisdom!


Father likes the smell of paper, hand-writing with

a fountain pen his sixth historical novel about Adam

and Eve, “Life is love… starts and ends with Genesis.” 


Copyright by Michal Mahgerefteh

Abba


Since I left, I’ve yearned for a kind word,

not jumbled words made to prayer, or a psalm

to end a conversation—but a warm welcome,

spontaneous and protective after separation…


For thirty-five years this nameless ache stands

mute in verses, no metaphors… people create

weariness, to some it seems pleasant, but father

will not offer a glimpse of understanding; this


old dream leans on the back of his armchair

averting my attention to the thick fog masking

the Boulevard, “Our world shrunk by time

and place, he says, “I regret letting you go…” 


Copyright by Michal Mahgerefteh

Care


I watch him chop fresh English parsley and cilantro,

prepare spicy sauce to eat with chicken for early dinner.

The pungent herbs aroused hints of memories long forgotten.


A great sadness tightened around father, and it felt like

he welcomed the smothering sensation, like a visit from

an old friend, “I didn’t feel the presence of love in this life.”


I wanted to comfort but the only sound he allowed himself

to hear was the heaviness of his breathing and the sound

the knife makes, cutting through the flesh of organic herbs.


Avoiding eye contact, father knew that life would never

be the same after mother’s passing: cook for himself, shop

for food and clothes, pay bills, take control over his health.


But he didn’t care: unopened mail on the kitchen table

with dirty dishes, spoiled food in the refrigerator, unwashed

clothes piled in the hallway, bathroom smelled like urine…


Irregular use of insulin caused father depression and rage

engaging in bickering that turned onto monologues. Nobody

cares because you don’t… Father, you simply don’t care. 


Copyright by Michal Mahgerefteh

Book Reviews

This chapbook is in progress -
I'm yet to submit for reviews. 

Acknowledgments


Some of the poems in this collection

have previously appeared in the following

magazines, periodicals, and anthologies,

whose publishers and editors I thank.

On occasion, poems have been further

revised, or titles changed, since their

original publication:


The Wild Word Magazine (2020) 

“I Am Here” 

“Bone”

(Submission to magazines
is planned for 2021 / 2022)

Thank you for visiting

"FishMoon" Collection.


You are invited to leave

a comment for Michal.


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