Sunday, April 28, 2013


mother gets letters written in yiddish
from her mother faraway in los angeles
a strange scrawl always on blue paper
hebrew script flows right to left
a gentle aleph bet calls out family gossip and stories

father talks with his father in yiddish
seated in overstuffed armchairs
cigar smoke clouds their beards
hoarse and throaty the blacksmith and his son growl
a gruff german tinged with Auschwitz and war

mother and father speak yiddish to each other
their only daughter does not understand
she strains to hear familiar words
to make sense of the hebreic german
slowly she pieces together the guttural sounds

kinder means children
nacht night
geh schlafen go to sleep her mother says
a machaya a pleasure her father says
hund they call the dog

the daughter picks up droplets of yiddishkeit
she strings them around her neck
morsels of songs and stories
she cobbles them into memories
and wears them everyday

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