Issue 35, Final Fringe

Fragments from a Nonexistent Yiddish Poet

by Jehanne Dubrow Issue 13 12.01.2007

Ida Lewin (1906–1938)
AlwaysWinter, Poland


               I’ve heard that Polish wives
cook beets        into a broth
that bleeds, as though from hemorrhage.
               They fill white bowls
with dumplings pressed into the shape
of shrunken ears, their thumbs
            molding pastry to look
like lobe and auricle. Awful,
to hear one’s own devouring
before it comes.
                                     Consider ears.
They know the scrape
that metal makes inside the bowl—
pale cochleae, so vulnerable
they float across the soup,
               poor things, that cannot seal
themselves against the sound but roll,
ears swirling past a spoon.
               I wonder at this meal
for cannibals.
With such an audience below,
who wouldn’t lose the taste for dough?

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Jehanne Dubrow

Jehanne Dubrow

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Jehanne Dubrow was born in Italy and grew up in Yugoslavia, Zaire, Poland, Belgium, Austria, and the United States. She holds a Ph.D. in creative writing from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is the author of three poetry collections, including most recently Stateside (2010). In autumn 2012, Northwestern University Press will publish her fourth book of poems, Red Army Red. Her first book, The Hardship Post (2009), won the Three Candles Press Open Book Award, and her second collection, From the Fever-World, won the Washington Writers’ Publishing House Poetry Competition (2009). Finishing Line Press published her chapbook, The Promised Bride, in 2007. Her work has appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, The Hudson Review, The New England Review, Shenandoah, Gulf Coast, NPR, and many other places.