blackbird online journal Spring 2008  Vol. 7  No. 1



Fragment 12 from a Nonexistent Yiddish Poet
                                              Ida Lewin (1906–1938)
                                                AlwaysWinter, Poland

I want to be studied, the way
my husband drags a fingertip
from right to left          across
his siddur,      
  black letters fluttering
like eyelashes against
the softest flesh—let him be
a scholar and I the text, speak me
on Yom Kippur
while the congregation bows
and sways, voices praying me,
myself the blessing when they pour
the wine                      myself
the motsi said before a meal,
            let the rebbe teach the right
pronunciation for myself,
let there be a midrash to the mole
that punctuates my breast, 
a hermeneutics of the scar
so pale across my palm,
still legible       
              though the kitchen blade
inscribed me twenty years ago, 
    let my husband read what men,
the wisest men in the village,
have written on my name, my face,
the vellum of my skin 


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