D. Dina Friedman

The turnip, its roots still trying to clasp the earth,

its sharp, whiny taste, like the conversation I heard

between two women on a Boston bus, complaining

that their lives were going nowhere....

Yes, you can smell the turnip, even cold.

It’s worse under fire. If I were three,

I could ask without embarrassment

why the roots are purple.

My husband tried to sneak a turnip

in pumpkin-cranberry soup, but it stuck out

despite the blending. Just like multicultural issues,

turnips demand attention!

Touch the turnip.

It is cold and clammy

like a damp refrigerator;

it is the only vegetable left in the refrigerator,

and we have to eat it because it’s winter,

as if winter isn’t hard enough....

Can’t we send it on roller skates

down the puddly ice into oblivion?

That’s right—like the turnip, my skin

shrivels at the first sight of snow.

But, like the turnip, my roots

turn purple to fight the darkness.

D. Dina Friedman

Take what youíve

left here,

a frayed cloth,

a loose stone,

a sheen of webs,

each strand


a thread to hold

when itís dark

and the moon

wonít come.

Cast it

like a pole.

Hook your heart.

This place sticks

like a wet stone

or the ends of your hair

which might curl

for each lie youíd tell

if you could see

through the dust. All webs

hang from the same root.

Itís hard to breathe,

hard to think you might live here

for years,

some of your cells

trapped like bugs into

the next day, in a small space

under the eaves

where bats, curled foot-to-head

snooze and yawn,

their teeth


to your feet.

D. Dina Friedman

You’ll need a small source of light

and courage

to dive into dark places

and embrace damp walls

without wondering

if youíll emerge.

You’ll need a sandwich

for emergencies

and an internal map

to prevent getting lost

in the pools that contain your reflection.

You’ll need rudimentary knowledge

of how to float

and the ability to make yourself

small enough

to squeeze through tight places—

consider it a re-birthing,

a second chance to discover creation.

You’ll need words

and a friend

to call out to in darkness

even if that friend is

your own inner voice.

D. Dina Friedman has published widely in literary journals including Calyx, The Pacific Poetry and Fiction Review, The Palo Alto Review, Hurricane Alice, Permafrost, and Peregrine. She is also the author of two young adult novels: Escaping Into the Night, and Playing Dad's Song. Her website is .

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