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 http://luciacherciu.webs.com. @CherciuLucia