Skip to content

McGraw & Telushkin – Nov.13

Carol McGraw and Dvorah Telushkin traded art and words. Carol shared this piece, “Ghosts in the Attic,” with Dvorah:

Carol McGraw, Ghosts in the Attic, 2012, acrylic and charcoal on paper, 30 x 22 inchesIn response, Dvorah wrote this poem:

Ghosts in the Attic

You call them
Ghosts in the Attic
As I sleep.

They were owls
Guarding my dreams.
And downstairs
My husband sits
Into Oblivion.

It is not
They are trying to protect.
It is not for
They have hovered
In our earthly realm
To pay dues
On old promises.

It is only
For me they linger
For me they sent
Flourescent green
Tiny baby grasshoppers
That fall with a
Delicate Thud
On my laptop screen.

For me they linger.
The promise.
A promise
Made in
Our brief
As poets
You promised
To edit
Every word.
To fend off
All my

And now
You wait
Your Yiddish typewriter.

Like an imp or
A hobgoblin
From your stories.

You have become an
Other- worldly Creature.
But felt!
You push things off the bookshelves.
You inhabit
The wall.
You toss notes onto my carpet.
And while stumbling,
I am reminded of your love.

And eternal.
You sit with two co-horts.
Is it Roger and Dorotea?
Is that who you brought?
To be the literary
Team? To publish to edit?
You lured them
From the next world
To help me.

“What do I have but time?”
You ask.
You say, ‘What do you mean, up there?’
When I say you are sitting ‘up there.’
“Do you think I am an old man, that I need a stepladder?’
You have not lost your razor sharp wit.

Oh! My eternal ghosts.
You will not let me abandon my novel.
You said abandoning one’s characters
Is like throwing the kittens
Into the Hudson!

It must have been
Whispered into my ear
To bring up
The novel
From the

It was You
Who sent Martha
To inform me
How to begin

You will
Not rest
Until this
Novel glistens.
“Vee vill polish it until it vill shine!”
You used to say!

And when I
From my sleep,
I see that there
Will be no choice.

We will
All Four
Become bewitched again by Destiny.
And we will
On our
Cosmic literary

* * * *

Dvorah shared this poem with Carol:


The Rabbis tell us
When a righteous person dies,
They stand under
A canopy of Diamonds and Rubies.

I can see you standing there
Waving to me
Like a young girl.

Happy. Carefree, like a spoiled adolescent.
This must have been your soul
Before the camps.

Before the nipples were frozen from your breasts.
Before they buried you alive in Buchenwald.
In a pit of dead bodies.
Before your sister died in your arms.

This was your soul before New York
Impoverished you.
Before your husband bound himself up
In the sorrow of the war.
Weeping at night so you could not sleep.

This was your soul.

A joyful young girl.
Bursting with joie de vivre

This was your soul.

Before the loss of your second husband
Led to the degradation of poverty
Once again.
The degradation of your nobility of spirit
You had to babysit
For the livelihood.
You had to babysit and by doing
You sanctified the lives of many children,
The lives of my children.

You became the crown grandmother.
The mother to the motherless.
You played the role.
You baked the cookies
The Hungarian Goulash.
Fried the meatballs and hamburgers with onions.

And now you returned.

At night, when I close my eyes,
I don’t see the dying woman,
Bold emaciated cheeks.
Yellow wax skin.

I don’t see the
Brave soldier who lay for six weeks.
Blessing every spoonful of water.

I don’t see that
Faded warrior.

I see you.
The young girl at the top of a faraway hill.
Jumping, bouncing, waving
Beneath an ethereal jeweled archway.
Standing under a
Canopy of
Diamonds and Rubies.

In response, Carol made this painting, “Afterlife”:

McGraw, Carol, The Afterlife 1

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: