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temples of salt


I came of age in a land of brick

and cobble, in a walk-up

tenement with the remnants

of a distant culture tied to my

tongue. Where food came not

from the soil, but from the little

shops of the Ashkenazi. Pickled


herring ruled the countertops free

from the green conspiracy of bok

choy. No garden cucumbers,

but a glory of crisp pickles in hand

wrought wooden kegs. No melons,

yet thick wheels of marble

halvah from a mysterious Levant.


No tomatoes or kale, yet whitefish

hung from the ceilings near garlands

of lush dates from Istanbul. Cakes

of stewed fruit and almond, temples

of salt, a moveable feast for those

often forced to move. Unleavened

bread. Jewelry sewn into the seams

just in case.


 Published in Whole Terrain

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