RIFKAH GOLDBERG
OPPOSITE SIDES OF THE STREET

Now you wave warmly to me
From the opposite side of the street
I can think of when we were on the same side

You brought brown rice and ginger root
Religiously did your Tibetan exercises
In the middle of my life

You took me on a walking tour
And to the strains of Russian hymns
Called me your little Jewish nun

You took me out to a meal
Conjured up out of nowhere
Walked me to and fro in the velvety nights

You whisked me off to the desert
Where we lay side by side in the dust
Warmed by flickering red flames

We watched a colour television there
Miraculously plugged into nowhere
In an Arab nomad's shack

We both read our intense poetry
Out of place in a younger crowd
As if our lives depended on it

We introduced each other
To our very different friends
Bringing together worlds that rarely meet

You savoured my orgasmic cooking
Appreciated the intricacies of my good taste
That holds together my humble home

You discerned my deepest wounds
Scolded me over my changeable moods
Saw through my closeness to my children

But you were not sure you could give me what I need
And I not certain I could cope with your flimsy mask
So now we walk on opposite sides of the street

1999