The rank one, the sharp one, the one
always in need of other flesh
for company, Grandfather searches for onions,
eats them with every meal. Red shards
in tomatoes, naked but for salt, the yellow ones
sighing pleasurably into schmaltz.
Turned and turned by the spoon
of my grandmother, he fishes them
one half-moon at a time
from the scalding fat barely rendered.
His brittle skin peels. A plume of hair
flies above the taut tan dome of his skull.
Grandfather of the pickled tongue, vinegar
and capered tongue, he drapes lox
the color of surprise on top of onions,
seeking the stink of Jewish food,
its herrings and its livers, its complicated
briny odors, its conversations
between skin and sea. He sheds tears, a matter
of course, another sort of craving: tears for
the stirrer, the learned sting
that comes with marriage, with peeling
back its skin and slicing it deeply. They must
know the lessons of each generation, feel
that thick, stinging pleasure in their eyes.
The Glad Hand of God Points Backwards
Texas Tech University Press