Poetica Magazine

Poetica Magazine

My Grandmother
Dated Russian Boys

Madlynn Haber

I dated Russian boys,

my grandmother tells us

her dimples deepening

twinkling as she recalls

days of youth before escaping

when Cossacks raided

her father left behind.

It was not a land worth

fighting for, never really

her family’s home just

a place they lived

before arriving here.

Are the great grandsons

of those Russian boys

with forgotten names

on the front lines today?

I prefer to think of them

on peace marches or in prison

those descendants of the boys

who dared to date the Jewess.

Persecution is in my genes

inherited along with

recipes and rituals as well

as the curiosity that led

my teenaged grandmother

to venture from the Shtetl

to attend the Russian school

to visit the homes of Russian

teachers who carelessly

mixed milk with meat

disregarding their differences.