by Steven Sher (Jerusalem, Israel)
Before proposing, Grandpa Sam
bought furniture and Grandma Anna,
pragmatic, agreed to marry him.
That’s what passed back then for love,
the young torn from their families and homes,
fleeing Russia before the next pogrom.
A couple needed a proper bed,
a table and chairs, a dresser and sofa.
They even believed that sturdy
furniture would prop up any failings
in their feelings, that they could build
a life around it and six kids.
Sam died before I was born. Named after him,
I don’t put too much stock in furniture.
Anna outlived him thirty years,
the stern and proper widow
always sitting straight and proud
in an upholstered high back chair
before the family when we gathered
every week around the solid table
Sam had bought so many years before.
Steven Sher’s recent titles include What Comes from the Heart: Poems in the Jewish Tradition (Cyberwit, 2020) and Contestable Truths, Incontestable Lies (Dos Madres Press, 2019). A selection of his Holocaust poems, When They Forget (New Feral Press), is due out in 2021, while his prose will appear in New Voices: Contemporary Writers Confronting the Holocaust. For Flowstone Press, he is editing an anthology of Oregon poets. Steven lives in Jerusalem. If you’d like to read more about Steven Sher, visit his website: steven-sher-poetry.wixsite.com/writing