Lucia Cherciu

The Season of Giving


Don’t buy me anything. Send me a picture

of small treasures in your house: a copy

of a sepia portrait of your grandmother,

an old blue scarf you haven’t worn in twenty years,

some earrings you received as a gift in high school

and never wore. Ask me to choose.

I have to want it first. Then I will take

five pictures of treasures from my house:

a Romanian ceramic plate, an embroidered

shawl from North Transylvania.

You choose one. Objects we already have

in the house, sealed in boxes in the basement

because of chronic allergies to dust.

We can give the bits of money we save

to a poor family to pay their heating bill.

With the bits of money we save, we can buy

some time to learn a new prayer by heart.

How many prayers do you know by heart?

How many languages do you pray in?

In what language does God speak to you?

This season, I will write a prayer

for my benefactors, who have brought me here,

who have watched me on my journey

farther and farther from home.

Lucia Cherciu is the author of five books of poetry, including Train Ride to Bucharest (Sheep Meadow Press, 2017), a winner of the Eugene Paul Nassar Poetry Prize. She is the 2021 Dutchess County Poet Laureate, and her work was nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize and twice for Best of the Net. She teaches English at SUNY/Dutchess. Currently, she is working on revising her novel. Her web page is @CherciuLucia

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