Tradition & Innovation

Preparing for Rosh Hashanah

The smell of Gorham’s silver polish

releases memory

tucked ages ago into

crenulated brainfolds,

pathways to the soul

that pink butter

dabbed on a soft gray cloth

massaged into forks, knives, and spoons

my hands lathered with graying paste

as I rubbed away history,

the tarnish laid down

by time and touch

until they were as pristine

as creation’s beginning.

It’s funny that we did that,

Gram and I,

funny, because we Jews

like to remember,

hold on to time’s imprints,

caresses from generations of fingers,

and we were wiping all that away,

all that I didn’t yet know

I was not supposed to forget.

Memory holds that six year old

there, standing

on a chair at the sink,

head to head with Gram,

rubbing those stains away

to start the new year seeing

myself and my grandmother reflected

in the cradles of her silver soup spoons.


Found in: Rosh Hashanah

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