Preparing for Rosh Hashanah
by Sheri Lindner

The smell of Gorham's silver polish
releases memory
tucked ages ago into
crenulated brainfolds,
pathways to the soul
that pink butter
dabbed on a soft gray cloth
massaged into forks, knives, and spoons
my hands lathered with graying paste
as I rubbed away history,
the tarnish laid down
by time and touch
until they were as pristine
as creation's beginning.
It's funny that we did that,
Gram and I,
funny, because we Jews
like to remember,
hold on to time's imprints,
caresses from generations of fingers,
and we were wiping all that away,
all that I didn't yet know
I was not supposed to forget.
Memory holds that six year old
there, standing
on a chair at the sink,
head to head with Gram,
rubbing those stains away
to start the new year seeing
myself and my grandmother reflected
in the cradles of her silver soup spoons.


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