Boxwood Hedge

"Hedge" by refreshment_66

Citizens, drive!

from radioactive waters

in the Southern provinces, arthritic

still and disappointed.


O neighbors and colleagues

Come out of your FourRunners, etc.

Empty your cars of your selves

smelling of sulfur.


This boxwood hedge

thickens like a moat

around an army stormed town.

They call that the ghetto


and stock it with Jews. Come home.

Watch the polite moat


decline its feeding spring. It’s mud

under bridges now

and that’s what keeps it safe.

See the hedge resembling me?


It grows that way. They all

will, now. That’s my gift. Lie under it,

Jews in your country estates

big as hotels, in your spas


at Baden bei Wien where you take

the waters

and your hysterical daughters.

I am the post office now,  


and you will never send a greater letter.

Lie down now. I’m the cure.

Photo: “Hedge “ by refreshment_66; licensed under CC BY 2.0 Click here to read Melissa Ginsburg on the origin of the poem.

Melissa Ginsburg: During this time I was immersed in Freud–I was reading his case studies, H.D.’s book about him, and Louis Breger’s biography. Freud’s obsession with history and legacy fascinates me. His desire to make an impact on history seems desperate at times, cocaine-fueled, paranoid, racing against time and his detractors. I had also been teaching Mark Levine’s Debt to a group of graduate poetry students, and thinking about the Holocaust and social structures of power, and the aesthetics of Victorian middle class respectability–a certain frilliness, a doily edge that marks clear boundaries. H.D. helped Freud escape Austria when the Nazis took over. I woke up in the middle of the night and wrote Boxwood Hedge.

Melissa Ginsburg
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