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pecan, rodef, clam

like any nut zipped up

tight in its shell. like a clam’s

clipped momser, the locked

maw talked open

by fire — by burly water

waitressing flesh, flat as a tongue,

to sterile plates. under fissures, a

soft sloth, holy fruit, hare

-lipped by cleavers,

the devil’s hand. sweet

meat of the tree. bone

boy, edible kernel, marrow

of roots, hung up

on earth. like a palmed

pit, disappeared

into its own

stone jacket. loony

seed

in brittle furniture: lone

in a rooming house, even

halved, only

one twin per womb.


rodef (Hebrew): a fetus posing a threat to its mother’s life. According to Jewish law, it may be aborted up to the point of crowning.

momser (Yiddish): an illegitimate child.

Susan Comninos’s poetry has appeared in Lilith, Tikkun, Judaism and “The Blueline Anthology” (Syracuse University Press, 2004), among others. Her fiction is forthcoming in Quarterly West.


Listen to Susan Comninos discuss her inspiration for ‘pecan, rodef, clam’:

Listen to Susan Comninos read her poem out loud:

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