Every stone and stair
creaks with my grandfather’s step.
His bar was full of empty bottles, always
clinking and ringing out of tune.
on the pack of matches. A knight stands,
looking out with an L-gaze.
He might have been an alcoholic, I
ventured once to my mother. He was
not an alcoholic, I got back as clearly
as our connection would
allow. He gave birth to me, through
chess and beer, as surely
as Sutzkever officiated my wedding.
Just like every patient is my child
and my girl and boy
father and mother to me.
And my wife is me forever.
About Zackary: Zackary Sholem Berger is a poet and translator in Yiddish and English living in the Charles Village neighborhood of Baltimore. His chapbook Not in the Same Breath, published in 2011, is a happily conflicted volume which is 1/3 English, 1/3 Yiddish, and 2/3 pretty pictures. It is available here.