One indication that a book is worth reading is the number of notes made in the margins, and I ended up with quite a few scribblings all over the clean, short poems of Maureen A. Sherbondy. Praying at Coffee Shops, with the striking cover image of a Jew praying at the Wailing Wall, suggests it will be about the modern Jew finding her place in the world. While essentially true, the stark image of close-eyed prayer belies the nuance, humor, and worldliness that come through in these poems. Nowhere is this more clearly exemplified than the title poem, whose full name is “Praying at Coffee Shops in the South”:
What are these public interludes with God?
Two men at Starbucks holding hands
bent over in prayer, leaning into the invisible.
My mother said no kissing in public places
but here they are –
pressing lips against java-infused air,
searching for the mouth of God.
Causes Maureen Sherbondy Supports
North Carolina Writers' Network, Temple Beth Or, North Carolina Poetry Society