• Vol. 06
  • Chapter 07
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Bubbe’s Kitchen

No one lives in Bubbe’s house now,
she’s been dead for many years. The
neighborhood an empty lot, where kids
play dirtball past dark. But I can still see

her kitchen, its ash-gray walls peeled by time,
its shelves and shelves of earthenware canisters
of bruised tomatoes, crooked carrots, onions, stuff
dug from dirt. Jars of ginger and garlic. A bowl

of lemons. This was Bubbe’s kitchen, the heart
of her American dream, where she could
store away pain of the Russian pogroms,
rejoice in freedom of a culinary soul once trapped

in cabinets of hatred, locked by Cossacks hunting
Jews. I can still hear her heavy voice, once silenced,
now belting Russian tunes while washing, peeling,
chopping, mincing, turning smelly dirt into fragrant meals

I couldn’t wait to eat. No recipes, no Googling. Just a
sprinkle of this, a dash of that. Like her mother had done
in silence in their shtetl on Shabbat. I think of Bubbe’s
kitchen now, where raw pain became a cuisine of strength.