Mizmor L'David Anthology 

 


Poetica Magazine, Contemporary Jewish Writing


Lois Rosen joyfully leads Salem, Oregon’s Trillium Writers Workshop, the ICL Writers’ Group at Willamette University, and co-founded the Peregrine Poets. Her poetry books are Pigeons (Traprock Books, 2004), Nice and Loud (Tebot Bach, 2015), and Diving and Rising (Finishing Line Press, forthcoming in 2021).

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HUNGER
Lois Rosen


Hunger hung over us no matter how well-fed

we were in that apartment kitchen barely wide

enough to walk through with arms spread.


I swear my mom could qualify as a

prize contender for pandemic preparation—

stacking thirty, forty, who knew how many


cans of Birdseye tunafish, cramming them into

our narrow cabinet. Why do we need so many?

Are you expecting an invading army? I teased.


She grumbled.
Don’t be so fresh. You never

know. I didn’t really know about hunger,

refused to eat herring, steamed cabbage, and liver.


They reeked and tasted
strictly from hunger,

a phrase translated from Yiddish to English. We

didn’t have a Parkhill home, the fanciest of the fancy


in Yonkers, but never went hungry, except one

day a year, fasting on Yom Kippur, the Day of

Atonement. Not even then was I truly famished,


not with a noodle kugel, lox and bagel brunch

to break the fast. Sure, my grandparents’ generation

knew real fear and hunger in Russia and Poland,


but Grandma, my Bubbie Berkowitz, would say,

In America, better we forget about the old country.

Eat! Eat, Bubbeleh. On you, it looks good!