Hilda Weiss







The Arm


Oh, many times! she says,
when I ask if she ever saw Hitler.

They crowded a balcony window.

Streets were jammed. That
was a long time ago,
she says.


Now, before falling asleep,
she lies on her back,
right arm extended upward,
as though to the face
of one at the foot of her bed.

In the dark, I ask: Why
do you do that?


And she answers: You
don’t want to know.




For lunch, we go out bundled up.

Petals fall on the wet sidewalk.

It’s the month of radishes and plum blossom.
Frische Luft, she says of the air.

It’s what she always says.
It’s what language is for.




Lunch is for dessert and coffee,
for the waiter saying: Stay
as long as you like
, and finally
for my question again: Why
do you raise your arm
when you’re lying in bed at night?


She lifts her arm,
reaches in front of her face
(her elbow no longer straightens),
and begins to draw with her finger
the edge of a shape—oblong.


She draws it over and over—
the same small, trembling
space.  What
do you see?
I ask.


It’s the door, she says.
I hear it.

It’s telling me
it belongs to the hall.


Why, I ask,
do you draw the edge
with your finger?


It wants me to.

It wants me to know
that it’s here.







Begin to laugh.



Forget everything.




(Begin to laugh.

Forget everything.)

(Begin to laugh.

Forget everything.)



Repeat. Release


your sweat. From every body-
surface, feel the shimmer. Lift
your baby-self from the bath.



Coo a little. Begin to laugh.



If your sweat smells bitter, wave your tongue,
flap your jaw. Their embrace: leaves

of giant kelp. Begin to laugh.



Once I saw an eye inside my eye.

The edges crackled like heat lightning.

They say everyone has a patch of blindness—
a field, a house. Just walk past, fast
without looking. Grip the stick. Swing!

Somewhere in the darkness, piñatas explode.

For God’s sake, laugh. Forget everything.




Almost Your Face


13 die in gun battles and you
are out of work, living with Mom.

Talk must be meaningful, but
there’s no money and too many


are too far gone. Call, call
for the ones who are gone
before us. Call, call for their arms,
for their dreams, for the long

climb and the mountain they mastered.

It takes money, said the bastard.

And you and I we hardly know
how to make that damn green stuff grow.


A slow wind
and ashes
Empty streets
Windows rolled up
on the cars driving past
Look straight ahead
I am talking to you
in the dark.


When we get home I close the doors and light
the candles. I hold your hand in silence
for a long time until a river
flows between us.











Hilda Weiss is the co-founder and artistic director of  http://www.Poetry.LA, a website featuring videos of poets and poetry venues in Southern California. Her chapbook, “Optimism About Trees,” was nominated for a Pushcart prize in 2011. Her poetry has been published in journals such as Askew, Ekphrasis, Poemeleon, Rattle, and Salamander, among others.





A video showcase of poets & poetry venues in Southern California



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