First edition | poetry

First Edition features new original works by Northern California Jewish writers. Appearing the first issue of each month, it includes a poem and an excerpt from a novel or short story.



by maxine chernoff


“the train trains on.” — Ann Lauterbach


Oblivion assured

you take the ramp

that leads to evidence:

a museum is refracted

on a wall with plaques

reading      Forgiveness

Mercy                Recondite


Not memory but

an artifact of longing

random as weather —

how your hand touched

the mirror, you who were

window and cloak

in the long-shadowed

garden, where no one

hung his hat on a branch

or blistered sepia with a face.

We barter our habits, make

questions fill the naked space.

Days are reckless, pages

erased by a trickle of rain.

It is evening and evening again.


Maxine Chernoff chairs the creative writing department at San Francisco State University and edits the journal New American Writing. The author of 14 books of poems, her most recent collection is “Here”  (Counterpath Press). She is the recipient of a 2013 National Endowment of the Arts fellowship in poetry.