parents kept Yiddish
like a secret language under their tongues.
At home, they poured it thickly into bottles,
fed it to me with my mother’s milk.
I grew up with the taste of a dialect
most never heard and no one spoke.
My belly was full of forgotten words
like mandelbroit, and lokshen, and kichel
My throat aching with the sorrow of worlds past--
My grandfather who grew in the forests of Suvalk
had a father and a mother and five brothers
who were clothes merchants, shopkeepers,
scholars who twirled their wispy beards
and learned in the Beis Medrash each night
until they were herded into open fields,
mowed down in moving graves, or forced onto packed
trains and sent to Auschwitz where their bodies turned
to dark smoke under the open skies.
Their stories, and others, bubble inside of me
like boiling water. One day when I open my mouth,
everything will teeter at the edge of my lips and spill.