This is actually a poem I wrote at least three years ago, but sometimes that’s how long it takes for a magazine to actually get it out i print. That’s why I’ve taken to literary blogs.
Story of the Great Depression
Max and Masha, the old couple
who owned the grocery, knew from Russia
what it was to see little ones with shoulder
blades sharp as nubs of angel wings, skin stretched tight
across small skulls, faces blue with veins,
empty bellies swollen. Who would have thought
that in the Bronx, the winter of ’33,
Max and Masha would hear children whimper,
“My mudder says she’ll pay soon as my fadder gets his check.”
Masha and Max wrote everything down in the notebook,
who owed what, even though they knew in their kishkas
that the money would never come back to them.
With her balled-up black woolen stockings
that were too full of holes to ever wear again
and his tattered jacket, the pockets long empty of change,
they turned on the gas without the flame,
sat on wooden crates from their closed-down store,
pressed their dry lips together, and held arthritic hands.