Blackbird an online journal of literature and the arts Spring 2008 Vol. 7 No. 1



Fragment 14 from a Nonexistent Yiddish Poet
                                              Ida Lewin (1906–1938)
                                                AlwaysWinter, Poland

If beets complain, they say,
the root of me is blood.
Although you wish me pale
or weeping onion-tears,
I cannot hide my heart
a pointed tip that jabs
the earth.
I end in sprays of green.
I’m salad days. 
            Why not look past
my roughened skin,
the dirt I’m buried in? 
            Peel me. 
I take your spice. 
My neighbors stand a pinch
of salt but little else,
            their thousand eyes
held shut against the world 
I have no eyes to keep
you out.      Squeezed dry
then tossed into a heap,
I’m vegetable
                           with rot. 
It’s mine, this sacrifice
that stains your knife.  
     I gleam as hemorrhage
inside your hunger-dreams.  

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