How to Live

by Norita Dittberner-Jax
A hundred years ago, the fire
of a Ukranian foundry 
forged this cross.

You brought it from Kiev,
the crucifix passed
from one generation
to another, the corpus
worn and shining,
a landscape of valleys
and hills and the long
geography of limbs.

It fits my hand perfectly;
my thumb worries the head,
a comfort as it was for others
who held it in sickness
or hid it during persecution.

Sometimes now I am tired.
Worn down with caring. I want
hours alone, the radio mute.

Then I wonder, which way?
Preserve myself?
Or like the little cross from Kiev,
Let the blessing of hands
leave its shine upon me.    

 2007 by Norita Dittberner-Jax. All rights reserved.

Norita Dittberner-Jax is a native of Saint Paul. Her book of poems, What They Always Were, (New Rivers Press) won the Minnesota Voices Competition. Her poetry appears widely in small press magazines. She is a secondary writing consultant to public schools.