like a skin on milk
I write to you
I hurl the letters of your name
onto every page, one and many
I know you are reading over my shoulder
look each of us possesses a book of life
each attempts to read what the other has scripted
in these almost illegible letters tipped by crowns
what is the story
we want to know
would you turn off that faucet, I shout to my husband
but to you I say: never turn it off

From “The Book of Life: Selected Jewish Poems 1973-2011”  (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012). Reprinted by permission of the author.

Alicia Ostriker has published 14 volumes of poetry, most recently “The Book of Life: Selected Jewish Poems 1979-2011” (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012). Ostriker received the National Jewish Book Award for Poetry in 2010 and has appeared in numerous Jewish literary journals and anthologies.