Author: Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso


Do you ever wake up a little shaken

By questions of identity that sprouted in your mind during the night?

Wondering who made the rules that you follow (usually) and do you follow them for yourself or someone else (who?)

Compelled by the urge to examine every rule in order to decide which ones to break but daunted by the demands

Petrified and tantalized by the possibility of change

Questions for Next

What is it called
when you’ve been 
hiding inside
for so long
that when it’s safe
to emerge
you are reluctant
to embrace 
your freedom
not quite
the invitation

What’s the word
for when you 
can only
sit on a bench
watching people
who are probably 
your friends
but whom you can’t
quite recognize 
talk to each other
and laugh
you assume
they are smiling 

What does it mean
when you’ve 
how to make
polite conversation
at a gathering of
more than
three people
when most 
of the people
seem extraneous
and make you feel
awkward and 
for the world

How do you 
follow the rules
when they are
being rewritten
how do you know
which ones to 
obey and 
which ones to

Where do you 
find the strength
to survive
in the wild
when you’ve 
become accustomed
to shuffling
back and forth 
in your 
littered with
all the evidence
of living

© Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso
April 2021

What We Make

Watch me read this poem.

Breathing is a little bit easier 
Though all my ads 
are for better masks 
so I can keep my air
to myself and not inhale yours 

Yet still I smile 
You can see it 
In my blue eyes
And their attendant wrinkles

At home we make each other laugh
We make art
We make up words
We make mistakes
We apologize 
We rewind
And start over

We stay in our pajamas
Until getting dressed 
becomes absolutely necessary 

We must still hibernate 
In our homemade cave
Which has certainly seen 
cleaner days

But finally, we know that 
spring is coming
Even if it takes until fall to arrive

We know emerging from
This claustrophobic 
Will take time
For some, a lifetime
Costing copious tears and 
Sacrificial sweat 
and innocent blood 
that’s already been shed

And we will make it through
Make it up as we go along
Make it better than the broken truth
Make good 
On our undelivered promises 
To each other 
Make space for all the voices
To be heard
Even when it means quieting our own
Make room for all the people
At the welcome table 
Make a new way

One day we will take off our masks
And see each other clearly
And savor sharing the same sweet air

© Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso
January 2021

Just watch

I give myself unlimited chances 

and infinite wishes

That I can choose to grant 

I cultivate curiosity 

exchange skepticism for wonder

I create simply for creation’s sake

Offering the same opportunity to others

I draw with a thick black marker (chisel tip) the delineation between me and you

And I will shimmer and shine in my own space while you do as you wish in yours

In the Morning

I have heard that the cracks are where the light comes in

And in the places we were broken we are stronger

That’s what the poets say

But someone has to sweep up the pieces, to find every last one, and set to work with toothpicks and superglue 

Because we the people are shattered, scattered, smashed to bits

According to the sages

our scars make us who we are

But to have a scar we must stop the bleeding and heal the wound.

For now the blood still flows

the wounds are open

the battle continues