What's memory but a shucked oyster,
salt rimed and shivering?
At one and a half,
he pointed at the ceiling fan, said
rotate, as though his mouth was origin
of some first turning.
So many rules to be a Jew,
my mother sighs, leaving behind
Long Island, Flatbush, Yiddishkeit.
Ezra, balanced between the past
and a tender pork roast, puts down
What's memory but an omnivorous
Whose memory? Not mine.
Between what my mother won't cop to,
and what my son won't eat, I'm half-invisible,
Already, at nine, he retreats behind his too-long
bangs and Bach inventions.
And my mother, the hard bead of Ashkenazi
irony in her left breast cut out, radiated, her Judaism, too,
now in full remission.
Memory, relentless bottom-feeder,
gatherer of refuse and debrisó
And Ezra, turning
away, knowing: thou shalt not cook the calf
in its mother's milk; the animal should be bled
swiftly and just so, prayers said thus
over its bowed head.
The Gettysburg Review