• Betsey Cullen

"Summons"


520 Years after their Expulsion, Spain Welcomes Back Sephardic Jews--

Philadelphia Inquirer Headline

Should I return to Seville,

where my people prayed, where

dust rustled on winding lanes?

Where keys hung from necks – shekem –

where keys opened doors, intoned belonging?

Where Jacob, my kin, an Anousim,

concealed menorahs in commodes,

Shabbat candles in cradles?

Where they cast him out in Christ’s name,

changed the locks?

Go back, Jacob whispers. Take my key,

the one imbued with centuries of longing,

the one embossed with Star of David filigree,

the one you found stowed away

with old car keys, lost lockets, birthrights.

I grasp his key,

worry it back to the drawer,

barely disturb the dust.

Toda. Shalom. Toda.

Betsey Cullen studies and teaches poetry at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Delaware. Her poems have appeared in the Broadkill Review, Prize Poems (2017,18,19) of the Pennsylvania Poetry Society and anthologies published by Diane Lockward, Peter Murphy and A.J. Huffman. Her collection, Our Place in Line,won Tiger’s Eye Press’ 2015 Chapbook Competition. Betsey earned degrees from the University of Rochester and Cornell. She and her husband Neil live in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Contact her at betseycullen@me.com


15 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Two poems by Tamiko Dooley

Sayaka They made her change her name – The same kanji she’d used since she first picked up a pencil To mark on paper. Sayaka. The fortune teller said it was bad luck For the characters of his surname

"Catching the Moon" by Christina Daub

First you must roll it down your street when it is least likely to be noticed, preferably noon. If it yellows while you roll, you must tell it all your names and listen to it croon. Do not face it dir

Three poems by Cathlin Noonan

Self-Portrait From a Balm I was born from a long, hot labor a boiling, a hard shake, whipped to form after the heat and pain my caul, not shaped in splintering from my mother, but from a cooling, scra