May 29, 2013
What I Married Into
Salt into meat
Carrots, paprika, potatoes.
As it is written on her greased page.
I sing Dayenu, improvise verses
as I churn the soup.
Meal of bitter herbs I married
into. Chopped apples and cinnamon.
Matzos wrapped in linen.
Silver goblet for the prophet.
Celebrant out of bondage,
shank of a lineage I’d refused.
The woman who loved my husband
without doubt I carry to all things
was certain her recipe would not fail,
the matzo ball would be light,
our daughters would marry well,
the brisket tender.
Mother-in-law of big bosom,
sequin and shocking pink,
took me in — hug
into faith I’d waited for.
Today, in my kitchen
littered with pots and peelings,
parsley limp in its strainer,
I want her bossing, her sass, soft arms,
her gold rings
in the dish by the sink.
Barbara Rockman lives in Santa Fe, N.M., where she teaches poetry at Santa Fe Community College and in private workshops. Her collection “Sting and Nest” received the 2012 National Press Women’s Book Award and the 2012 New Mexico-Arizona Book Award.