This poem is taken from Stand 219, 16(3) August - September 2018.

Joan Michelson Two Poems

In service to rich cousins in Nova Scotia,
where her father sent her, a twelve year old,
grandma wore a frilly embroidered apron.
Ten years later, opening a kosher butcher’s,
she bought a butcher’s bib in navy linen.
Sundays when we were small and came to eat
her chicken tzimmis*, she wore a floral print
half-apron, pockets packed with Kleenex tissues
for us, the babies, thirty altogether born 
within the post-war era. On Sunday afternoons, 
her apartment was a balagan†. Laughing,
she led us round the tables in a skip-step,  
her half-apron lifting like a sail.

* Yiddish/Hebrew traditional sweet stew
Yiddish/Hebrew/Russian – chaos
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