Poem by Marlena Chertock
The foods of my ancestors are made quickly,
can’t wait for the bread to rise
so take it now with us across the desert,
thin crackerlike slabs — matzah.
No time to waste, freedom
is so easily taken away.
My ancestors labored over the foods they ate,
brisket marinates for hours,
becomes thick with flavor, soft and tender,
beet and cabbage borscht simmers
until it’s deep red and wilted.
Fill yourself until you’re drowsy.
When there’s not enough, my ancestors
shared, slice your serving into several.
Invite friends and strangers to dine
with you for Passover Seder. Drink
at least three cups of wine, recite stories,
the taste of ancient words on your tongue.
The foods my ancestors ate are still savored
today, crumbling cookies
called mandel bread cover your shirt,
matzah ball soup warms you
to your core, pita bread dipped
in fresh olive oil, tangy, salty, sweet.
Marlena Chertock has two books of poetry, Crumb-sized: Poems (Unnamed Press) and On that one-way trip to Mars (Bottlecap Press). She uses her skeletal dysplasia as a bridge to scientific poetry. Marlena is a bisexual poet and serves on the planning committee for OutWrite, Washington, D.C.'s annual LGBTQ literary festival. Her poems and short stories have appeared in Breath & Shadow, The Deaf Poets Society, The Little Patuxent Review, Noble/Gas Quarterly, Paper Darts, Rogue Agent, Stoked Words, Wordgathering, and more. Find her at marlenachertock.com
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Now more than ever
These poems have been submitted to the call for poetry "Now more than ever"