Allegra Jostad Silberstein

Allegra is a retired teacher who now has more time for writing. She also dances, sings, and plays the recorder when she can find a few spare moments. Her poems have been published in Poetry Depth Quarterly, Blue Unicorn, Rattlesnake Press, Poetry Now, Poetry of the New West, California Quarterly and other journals. Publication in anthologies includes: The Sacramento Anthology-One Hundred Poems, Gatherings, A Woman’s Place, and Where Do I Walk. Her first chapbook, Acceptance, was published in 1999. In The Folds was published by Rattlesnake Press in 2005.



Allegra Silberstein Poems

—Allegra Silberstein

Gradually I emerge from sleep
search for place
in unfolding nothingness.
Above my narrow bed
knotted redwood boards
of the high cathedral ceiling
cross over four heavy beams—

soft brown eyes seem
to look down on me—no
they are too scattered
more like dark stars.
They form constellations:
unicorn, cow, bear. They
keep their ordered space.

I begin the orbit of my day:
turn on the teakettle,
feed the cats, replace lenses
that wake me to all the lines
on my face…
then steal a moment
to lie down again.

The knots are clearer now
darker and more luminous
their rings with varying degrees
of dark, some with deep flaws
cry for notice.
The constellations of my waking
no longer seem as clear.

Beneath this dream place
these old bones of mine
threaded together with muscle
and sinew need to come upright
against the pull of gravity
toward the pull of light

to ancestry deeper than membrane
or molecule, to the dust of stars
from which we come.
I stand again to find the morning.

—Allegra Silberstein

I have known hills
so tall they seemed like mountains
to Easterners accustomed to the Appalachians.

Walking through the valley
shadowed into hills on either side
I have followed a brook
and stopped by hidden springs
to ease the dry ache of throat dust.

I have looked up the steep ascent
littered with quarried rock
swept down by dynamite
and used broken branches
to aid my climb to limestone walls
above a vast flat floor: a coliseum
of abandoned excavation

or traveled slowly on a long forgotten road
to a place where lilacs bloomed each spring
by a crumbling foundation inhabited by young trees.

In my shadowed youth
I walked the valley through
to the lantern light and dark of my hilltop home.

I have known hills
so tall they seemed like mountains.










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