My great-grandmother was deathly ill and would not eat—
in Czechoslovakia in the nineteenth century.
Her family asked their rabbi what to do.
He said, Give her whatever dish she wants.
She asked for pork—forbidden
for Jews. But the rabbi approved.
Rules are waived in questions of life and death.
So they fed her a pork stew,
rich with onions, apples, potatoes, and spices.
………….They never learned the source
of her craving. Had she ever eaten it in secret?
Perhaps she only inhaled the aroma
from a Christian’s kitchen window and could not
forget it. Perhaps she needed to break the law
to regain her strength. Perhaps she was
the iconoclast from whom I am descended.
If you’re going to sin, said Jacob Frank,
sin with the sensuality of fear—
be as wicked as you can
until your pleasure makes you pure.
Rosemarie Krausz is a retired Canadian psychoanalyst with a Ph.D. in psychology. She holds an MFA in poetry from Drew University. A child of two Holocaust survivors, she has not yet published her chapbook, “i, child of survivors” and full collection, “Black Milk”. She has published a poem, Post Shoah Glosa, online at the Poetry Super Highway, in their 20th Annual Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) Poetry Issue, and her poem, Black Milk, in the 22nd Annual Yom HaShoah Poetry Issue.