Bio: Born in Chicago, Illinois, Ryfkah (Peggy Horwitz) now resides in La Mirada, California with two of her three daughters.  She is a sixth grade teacher at Los Alisos Middle School in Norwalk.  She is an avid student of Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) and of the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov.  Ryfkah has been published in anthologies including a chapbook collection of her own work, If Venus Had Arms, by the North Orange County Poetry Continuum, Cosmic Brownies by the Sun Rising Poetry Press, and various print and on-line magazines, especially extensively in the San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly.  She has been featured at poetry venues throughout the Los Angeles/Orange County area.  She is a member of the poetry performance troupe, WomanSong ( that is anti-abuse and pro the celebration of life.

for Primo Levi

Where are your shoes?
As a woman in birth
I squat to examine my feet
One soft shoe sole gone
the other unravels
like peeling layers of bark

My guide parades his new shoes
What do you do? he demands
I'm a poet.
You're a fool with no shoes.
I contend, I'm no longer a slave!
my mind looking back at
Arbeit Macht Frei
Work Makes Free
Scarred feet bleed
onto dirt roadside

I burned with fever.
The Soviets held the shoe store;
I was afraid.
He glares with the noonday sun
I too had a fever, didn't know
if it were day or night,
but I had a long road ahead,
saw the sentry with his sten gun
and broke in the back door.
I have shoes.

Many kilometers to walk
and I have no shoes
Tears smear my cheeks

I still believe
I am free

Sea Staccato

between checkered sheets
we dance  your latest absence
lost in our push and pull

tide outside recedes
captures algae  crab and sea star
a halibut drifts  its same sided eyes
stare at galaxy's nebulae

I sip from a fluted glass
play music around its edge
you nip my fingertip
taste the tang of champagne
dipped strawberry

wind sports upon waves
water sneaks to tidepool
we breathe atoms
from origins
like the sand and the sea
we kiss

Flowers Sing Under White Stones

The copper rufus darts to gather sugar-water
daunts other hummingbirds

Lavender seduces bees
moths   butterflies

Near dawn elk devour roses

Monsoons douse the mountainside

God Bless America croons over FM radio

Another warrior dies for God and country
as flowers sing under white stones

Mood Indigo

I indigo you
the splash of sky
within winter night
like new crescent
moon smiling lopsided
with smirk of voyeur
We read Kama Sutra
by candle beam twin
to bare moon glow
slanting through window
pane     nuance on hollow
of white neck and twirling
hair bound like phylacteries
around hand and fingers
O God  O God
Fingernails catch slant light
as love wounds bleed
Soft forgetfulness
blankets caress of souls
burning tattoo into dream
the rise and fall of flesh



Miniature dancers spiral
inside a glass dome as the music box
tones Chopin's Waltz Opus 64 No. 1
A girl winds and rewinds the key
moment by moment

Her lips blackberry stained
kiss an almost carmine cat
The grand piano unclosed
like a mouth ready to sing
the woman places her long fingers
on old ivory and ebony
over and over

Time after time
the woman daydreams
the girl     Tiny ballerinas whirl
a holy water of salvation
into memory's eddy

again and again

Her waltz dances on angel wings