“Imagining Abraham” by Susan Comninos

Susan Comninos


as my silent immigrant parent

My father was a wandering Aramean;
he placed a dead deer in my hands.

My father was a wandering Aramean
and erased for me the path to his home.

My father was a wandering Aramean
whose goodness was the oar that rowed him

in the boat of his soul. Alone

my father was an Aramean. He
spotted the dark in blurred halos,

my father. Was an Aramean wandering
because he’d been cast out by beasts?

My father wandered. Like an Aramean—
his feet were his indigent’s shoes.

He unveiled himself
to the air like a shivering bride.

My father, my wanderer,

walked on the ice near our home
like a heron. My father

was ice of the lake, a bird
of sparse plumage. He wandered, as feathers


from Rattle #72, Summer 2021
Tribute to Appalachian Poets


Susan Comninos: “I was born and raised in New York State’s Southern Tier—near Endicott, to be exact—a working-class town in sharp decline since the 1960s sale of the Endicott Johnson Shoe Factory, the area’s leading industrial employer. Growing up in the small Rust Belt community wasn’t ideal—for me, at least. I remember the chronic smog overhanging the shops on Washington Avenue, the commercial block leading to the high school; the preferencing of football over academics; the experience of being one of two Jewish kids in my grade. Though I never loved the place, I did learn there to love books, reading, and writing. Later, in encountering Alice Munro’s dazzling short stories, many of them set in the tiny towns of British Canada, I recognized in them the same brand of wild smallness and cruelty born of frustration that I often saw as a kid.” (web)

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