by Gerard Sarnat

In Chicago before I was toddling and my parents weren’t poor any more, when Zeyde died, we lived with Bubbe up three flights of stairs. She was always there, staring off in the distance, or on the floor feeding maches herring to fatten me up, or spoiling her boychick on dill pickles which Mom hated. When Bubbe held me tight and wore short sleeves, I got a good look and began to learn my numbers. After she passed and I’d learned to walk, Dad told me what they were called.

Southside survival, though a Gaelic nickname, gift for gab, and auburn sidecurls; skulking home after class, Irish gangs kicked my ass, called me Girlie and Kike.

Years later, traveling with my wife, I told her the solid red brick’s like grade school was. It’s almost lovely. A bird sings. One grassy railroad track fades toward the horizon. Auschwitz.