I don’t mind
pushing the night bugs
from the surface
of the water

It’s the price
to be paid
for choosing to swim
at 5:45 a.m.

I’m the first
to greet them
where their lives
while I slept

I ignore
that the experience
is less than

I’m a Hollywood starlet
in the 1940s
with a private pool
with blue and orange
mosaic tiles

I make my own waves
while choreographing
Esther Williams solos
mixed with exercises
I found online

When looking up today
I see a being
peering at me

It’s one
of those tired
worn looking
black grackles

From the time
I arrived
in Arizona
I noticed them
looking more haggard
than midwestern birds

The desert heat
must get to them
I figured

Well this one
was watching
my water ballets
not for aesthetic

because the waves
I made
got him closer
to the bugs
he wanted to eat
from his post
on the edge of the pool

but not close enough

So I made bigger waves
and bigger waves
and the grackle waited
for the ebb and flow

and from the peak
of a wave
a large dead moth
in his beak
and flew off

And I felt good
all day

The image is from the George Arents Collection, The New York Public Library: Chrysiridia madagascariensis.

Article by Author/s
Rebecca Bender
Rebecca Bender is co-author with her father, Kenneth Bender, of the book Still (North Dakota State University Press, 2019), Independent Press Award Winner (Judaism category, 2019) and Midwest Book Award Gold Medal Winner (Religion/Philosophy category, 2020). Still is a biography/memoir of five generations of a Jewish family on three continents, overcoming challenges and living their lives with tradition and faith. Rebecca practiced law as a securities litigator in Minnesota for 18 years, after graduating from the University of Minnesota Law School. Her prose and poetry have appeared in the Journal of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, Paper Brigade Daily (Jewish Book Council), North Dakota Quarterly, The Jewish Veteran, and the Forward, and she recently completed a screenplay for Still. Still, the book, is available through NDSUPress.org, Amazon.com or can be ordered through any bookstore.


  1. DoreenFinkelstein Reply

    Indeed. You did a morning mitzva. I loved this poem.

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