Commentary Magazine


At a Patched Window

I am a lover, a pauper, and a poet.
My heart is clean beneath the threadbare shirt.
I learned wisdom from the Talmudic skies of Lithuania.
I am gracefully uncouth.
I cleaved my grace from the slums of New York.

My father like Columbus dreamed of America, when I was born.
My childhood wanned at a patched window,
Where I imagined a cake soaring like a cherub,
Where I saw candy, toys, and cocoa,
under the wings of a nymph only.

The cruel hand of destiny led us through hunger, war, and plague.
We were four little brothers and a scrawny sister.
In the autumn garret we heard the song of spring,
as crawling doves would hear the giggle of their craven victor.
The wind through redolent meadows was a bleak laughter.

Oh, our weary mother carried us
through the prosperous thorns of our scared little town, Michalishek.
From a fairy tale came the night—a spectral undertaker,
to bury the thorny day of Lithuania.
God was the baker from Eden who baked the tasty stars.

_____________

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