A Split Second of Light
Recipient of Honorable Mention in the San Francisco Book Festival, 2011
We line up to play bombardment
and everyone wants to be on
Bobby Thewman's team.
We know the rage in his eyes
as he pulls back his right arm,
the white ball suddenly not a white ball.
We've all had it hurled into our stomachs,
the greasy breakfast eggs an unwanted return.
We go back to the same camp in the Catskills
every year, children of survivors
from the same German-Jewish 'hood--
so we can name the perpetrators,
hear them screaming in a language
we speak to our families, identify
our grandparents in photos and letters.
We're stunned when Bobby Thewman
doesn't return one June.
He moved in with relatives across the country,
his parents having made a pact:
his father firing the first of two shots.
Praise for A Split Second of Light:
Written with passionate precision, Florsheim's collection goes to the core of a wide range of intrigues and interests: the Holocaust, artworks, the mysteries of the everyday. Urbane and astute, his work is empathetic and clear-headed. A rich offering.
--David Meltzer, author of David’s Copy: The Selected Poems of David Meltzer
Among the pleasures of Stewart Florsheim's A Split Second of Light are his incisive character portraits of parents and family and the dramatic incidents he conjures out of paintings by Caillebotte, Chardin, Bonnard and others. Florsheim's gift for scene-setting and succinct phrasing, and his eye for revealing detail, make this a rewarding collection.
--Chana Bloch, author of Blood Honey and translator of Yehuda Amichai and other Israeli poets
Stewart Florsheim is one of those rare poets who has it all: chillingly beautiful language that draws the reader into myriad worlds of “riveting silence” and “prayer bells”; great courage to face the darkness, and the strength and wisdom to see that death and life are inextricably intertwined. This is an extraordinary book.
--Louise Nayer, author of Burned: A Memoir