Every Word a Lit Match

an alter of Hanukkah menorahs

You think translation is simple? Mix and match on the app,
and presto, there’s your thought on someone else’s tongue?
You never met my German British father—“Daddy, say BA-th,
not baa-th,” my three-year-old self teaching him
New Jersey’s version of American. When he said G-d
he meant the force that failed, failed, to blast dead the Nazi
beasts; when I spoke the Name, I summoned determination, joy,
intent that forces itself from the grave and mingles with
my breath. He pulled his tarnished menorah from
behind my mother’s pottery, dared me to polish it.
Now I polish my own, and install a rainbow of candles.
For me, that rainbow is a promise. I translate love
into courage: Every word a lit match. Every song
a protest, ready to transform.

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