Two Poems by Laura Johanna Braverman

My Husband On A Ladder Picking Olives
                        Late afternoon
and I sit at the marble garden table. The moist heat
of summer dried up, a tarp is piled wide
with olives ripe
                                    for brining.
When we lived seven floors up
            olives were things in glass jars. And what
was brining—
                        or October—?
His head is somewhere among the silver-sided leaves.
Twigs shift
            as his hands rummage and reach.
                                                He drops each stone fruit
into a bag hanging from a branch,
                        handles strain against the weight.
But it’s the light I want to talk about—
                        the way it slants through tree twists and gaps,
lands on coastal soil in amber splatters
            and sets the yellow grocery bag aglow.
How, in a few hours
                        this late-year day will have gone.
            He’ll board a plane.
                                    But for now:
the unburdened tree, the fruit-bearing light—
all between.
Of Weeds and Broken Things
Left undisturbed
the soil nests those seeds abandoned to the wind—
traveling cast-offs come to rest
            between the rows of olive trees.
I wish I knew the name
of every bloom and stem. A patch there
looks like coriander lace.
Another, a clustering of rocket leaves—
            amid the green
are modest flares of white and gold and lilac,
tiny sisters of bud and aster.
But when the ground is cleared—
            red earth turned and tilled, remnants
of a different ordinary
come unburied :
                        a rounded chip of glass, a sliver
                        of painted porcelain.
I bend for a jagged corner
of white ceramic tile, its mortar ridges
caked in coastal soil.
Little artefact
of someone’s kitchen, bath.
            Of a life.
Laura Johanna Braverman is a writer and artist. Salt Water, her first collection of poetry was published in 2019 by Cosmographia Books. Her poems have appeared in Plume, Levure Litteraire, Sky Island Journal, New Plains Review and Pratik, among other journals, and in the anthology Awake in the World, II. She recently earned her MA in poetry and will begin PhD studies this fall, both at Lancaster University. She lives in Lebanon with her family.

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