Poetry: Cold Bookcases –Lynley (Shimat) Lys

after Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons


Suppose cold. Suppose bare branches on trees. If cold, then winter, if cold then sun at half mast in grey sky. Suppose then grasses unearthed from under melting snow. If not slush, then not ice, then not ice under slush under melting snow.


Bookcasing. Shelves. Empty shelves and shelves lined with black spined Bibles. If Bibles then exegesis, then commentary commenting. Then Bible dictionary, if concordance. Then spine rough against fingertips, rough against eyes. Black fraying. Black edges. Blue slickness. If King James, then Annals of the English Bible. Suppose Jerusalem. Suppose Jerusalem Bible. If Gethsemane. If Jerusalem. If Bible if Jerusalem. If Jerusalem suppose olive trees, suppose olive oil, suppose Old Jericho Road. Hear muezzin calls, hear Church bells pealing, hear goats, hear drums. Hear bagpipes if Christian scouts. Hear Syriac. Rose colors. Jagged limestone. When limestone then quarries. Quarries quarrying stones. If Bible then stones. Suppose Jerusalem. Suppose Arabic. Taste Arabic taste Arabesques. Taste Al-Quds the Holy. Brown gnarled branches. If olives then pickled. Suppose raw then inedible. Suppose. If supposing. Then. Then Arabic then Hebrew then speaking if. Speech speaking if. Suppose hearing then bells. When 6am bells. When 4am muezzin. If so tasting cardamom. Arabic coffee if black grains. If Hebrew mud. If mud say botz, if black coffee suppose cafe shakhor. Taste black taste cardamom. Vanilla edge if cardamom. Taste.

Lynley (Shimat) Lys studies poetry and translation in the Queens College MFA in Creative Writing and Literary Translation. Lynley holds a B.A. from UC Berkeley in Comparative Literature and an M.A. from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Middle Eastern Studies. Lynley’s current interests include contemporary African-American poets, intersections between Israeli and Palestinian poems of place, and plays in verse. lynleyshimatlyspoetry.weebly.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s