Mizmor L'David Anthology 


Poetica Magazine: Contemporary Jewish Writing

Sarale Farkas

My 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.