Excerpt from Definitions by Sandra Kohler


This was the 2013 Tiferet Writing Contest Prize Winner for Poetry. Read the entire poem and the rest of the issue by downloading it here.



Sunrise: luminous pink orange flare

in the east. I wanted rain, solid respite,

gray shelter. I make coffee in a blue mug

today, not maroon. A token: something

over, something begun. At sunset the Day

of Atonement starts; the celebration of

the New Year ending. Today is the first

day of the year after my brother’s death.

Whether I atone or mourn or give up

mourning I’ll take the weather as I must.

I won’t forget how much I want rain.



On the porch, it’s tropical, the blue

ether so humid you’re breathing water.

My blue cup is full of coffee, my head

of dream reflection desire distraction

impulse story. This is the day of the

second step, the third, journey’s labor.

The new is not new. We are at the bottom

of a gray sea, light filtering down laced

with blackness. How much did it rain?

Will it rain again? A swoop of bird in

front of me then up to the porch,

the second story. If the first story

is the blue mug, the second rain,

is the third story the new year

or the old grief?

Sandra KohlerSANDRA KOHLER’S third collection of poems, Improbable Music, appeared in May, 2011 from Word Press. Her second collection, The Ceremonies of Longing, winner of the 2002 AWP Award Series in Poetry, was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in November, 2003. An earlier volume, The Country of Women, was published in 1995 by Calyx Books. Her poems have appeared over the past thirty-five years in journals including Prairie Schooner, The New Republic, Beloit Poetry Journal, APR, Natural Bridge, The Missouri Review, The Gettysburg Review, The Southern Review, and The Colorado Review.

This is a small representation of the high-quality writings you’ll find in every issue of TIFERET.

We receive no outside funding and rely on digital issues, workshop fees, and donations to publish. If you enjoy our journal’s verbal and visual offerings, we hope you’ll consider supporting us in one of these ways.

Click Here to Purchase Digital Issues