‘Golem,’ a Poem by Sarah Matthes

From her debut book, "Town Crier."

I could build a golem out of all the hair
I have ever removed from my body. The neck
young locks. Round pubic bursts of eyes.
I could dye its cheeks
with indigo and lemon.

She waits outside the cafe,
licking ankles like a dog.

At dinner she stands behind me and makes a red thread necklace
as strands fall into my eggplant.

I awaken in a whelp of pain.
Golem pulling out my long eyebrow hairs

with her teeth, adding them
to the contour of her elbow.

I attempt an adult conversation about it.
I use non-accusatory language. I offer her
the harvestings of my brush, which she pushes
into a clavicle bone, and begins to cry.

Golem cries sweat. Anyone else would think she were sweating,
if not for the sound:

From her wiry gape of mouth, an entire orchestra breaks
one string each.

 

*

 

In the morning I find her sleeping in the sectioned sunlight on the tile.
Breath like a sharpening stone.

She has made herself a tail.

 

*

 

Each time I undress we play
the mirror game.

We stand naked
across from each other

and practice
different feelings.

She makes a shape
with her body,

and I feel for her
the shape she shows.

But the game always ends
so badly. I know

when she performs
“sadness”

she is thinking only
of us, and I am thinking instead

of the oldest people
in the world,

trying
to walk up some stairs.

She wouldn’t understand this.
My poor phantom thing.

Even the greatest sculptures lack
stomach and lung — human hollowness.

 

*

 

Wherever she is now,
I want her to know this:

that she was conceived when I pulled
a single hair from my mouth
during an extended fellatio:

like all those glad little girls,
she was made in an act of love.

Read Alma’s interview with the author here.

Sarah Matthes

Sarah Matthes (she/her/hers) is a poet from central New Jersey. Her debut collection of poetry Town Crier (Persea, 2021) won the Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize, and she has received support for her work from the Yiddish Book Center and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation. A graduate of the Michener Center for Writers, she serves as the managing editor of Bat City Review in Austin, TX.

Read More

Movie Made Jews

What Makes a Movie Jewish?

Alma chats with author and professor Helene Meyers about the profound impact Jewish movies can have on our identities.