*for my grandmother
Before I became your vilde chaye, your gruber ying,
When you fed me brains and eggs, calling it a “French dish,”
When your fast fingers folded “the world’s greatest kreplach,”
We walked, unassisted, the whole five blocks to the A & P.
You held me by one hand, pushed the cart with the other.
And you told me how, as a young girl in Poland, you would shop
Munching an apple, a pickle, or just a sausage–who knew from buns?
“Strickly kosher, vu denn? Vas dere enny udder kind?”
That was before, when you “vas a regular yinger maydele,”
A real young girl, before your children made you a child again,
Feeding you applesauce, strained peas, beef boiled without taste.
Jay Jacoby is a retired professor of English, having spent most of his career at the University of North Carolina Charlotte, where he chaired both the English and Visual Arts departments. He has also been an adjunct instructor at UNC Asheville and I teaches regularly in the Osher Life-long Learning Institute at UNCA. His poems have appeared in such journals as The Asheville Poetry Review, Atlanta Review, Light, Cold Mountain Review, and Savannah Literary Journal.