My father wouldn’t lead me down the aisle:
you were a Jew
and hadn’t asked him—
cognac to cognac—for my hand.
Good Catholic Hungarian girls marry
Royal Austro-Hungarian Empire types,
and have children to speak Hungarian
for Grandfather’s Holy Communion and dollars.
For years—no, decades—my father bragged
about The War: how he ministered to German
soldiers, and gave chocolates, Gillettes,
and stockings to their wives.
He brought wine from Polish vineyards
a sympathetic magic I couldn’t bear.
Don’t let them lie to you, he spoke
like a spell over my Holocaust books,
Catholic priests, good people were killed
more than Jews—
Jewish bankers, Jewish doctors,
Jewish control of the media…
I asked him not to.
Robbed of his conjugating adjective,
he can’t speak.
He holds vigil outside our bedroom window,
his eye filling the pane like frost,
assuring himself no children will mix
his blood with the Jews’.
In spring, I gather flowered Seder plates
from Bed, Bath, & Beyond, a saffron-colored tablecloth,
and a new five-fingered vase.
I bury our pots in the garden,
as your mother once did,
to purify them,
so we can all eat.