On Monday, March 8 at 7 p.m. EST, I will read from my last book, Aleph, broken: Poems from My Diaspora, at my original home synagogue, Congregation T’Chiyah in Metro Detroit. Please contact me for the zoom link.
The tradition is a stone building
windows filled with yellow light.
Black letters, square and mysterious as granite.
Wrought iron, that other voice:
Arbeit Macht Frei
spreading its arms across the gate.
The sword turns at the door.
I sit by Grandpa,
a wriggling toddler,
the only female in the shul.
I do not see a balcony, a curtain
hiding the women.
Old men in black fedoras
bow and sing.
The echo of the flames
is close in our ears; I do not know
the names of Grandpa’s brothers
who died before I was born.
Fridays, women in other houses
rush about, cleaning and cooking,
heating the oven to keep the cholent hot
meat and fruit, a stewing sweetness
I’ve never tasted.
My mother didn’t stand
white cloth on her head
At Chanukkah, when I put the menorah
in the window, I hear the glass breaking.
Those who understand these images
Those who don’t
The books open the wrong way.
lies under the apple trees