“For I have let you see with your own eyes, but you shall not
cross over there...Your time to die has drawn near.”
As moonlight crept into the
highest boughs, the olive trees
leaned westward, their leaves
almost transparent, their branches
wrapped in off-white gauze.
Family voices faded as Moses,
dying, surrendered to dream,
the last space of his wonder.
In a place he didn’t recognize,
dark clouds rushing in, he stood
below a row of cedar trees,
untouched at last by desert heat.
Perhaps he heard the inscrutable
sea––as if in his bones an older
presence were calling him back
to something once known.
There would be no angel
hovering at the end of his breath,
no yearning for heaven,
no promised land. Only a sense
of one more departure,
a secret pride in his solitude,
and the strange thought
he was meant for this––
for this last journey alone
in a world not unlike his own,
but fluent with estuarial waters,
for this final home in his body,
and a physical world he could
count on. Had he always been
alone? A fine scrim of mist
swept in from the south,
and afterward cloudburst, endless
rain, as cool water began to swirl
at his feet. He lifted his head
toward the sky where it darkened.
Now only the soft bound earth
to attend him, and the affirmation
of the rain, the long vestment
of the rain touching his shoulders
everywhere, sweet enough
where it found his open mouth.
Richard Brostoff’s work has appeared in Rattle, Poetry East, North American Reivew, Texas Review, Atlanta Review, Bluestem, Gulf Stream, The Anthology of New England Writers, Carbon Culture Review, Confrontation, South Dakota Review, River Oak Review, The Distillery, North American Review, Owen Wister Review, Contact Quarterly, Hawaii Pacific Review, Cumberland River Review, Berkeley Poetry Review, Ep;phany, Wisconsin Review, Eclipse, Red Wheelbarrow, Southeast Review, The Moth, Magma, Verse Daily, and many other journals. He won the grand prize at the AEI International Poetry Festival, the editor’s choice for the Robert Penn Warren Award, and was a finalist for the Iowa Review Poetry Contest. His chapbook Momentum was published by La Vita Poetica (2007). A second chapbook, A Few Forms of Love, was published by Finishing Line Press (2012). Richard has been part of the dance world for many years, performing new dance and contact improvisation in New York City and throughout New England. He is also a physician with a private practice in Boston.