Cake and Bread

by Lois Rosen


We didn’t worry about weight then
so soon after the war. Uncle Benchie
arriving from somewhere, maybe Poland,
Russia – some Jew-killer country
not to be talked about with children
though I heard him mutter
Stalin bren un zeller: Yiddish
for “Stalin burn in hell.”

And though our clothes
came from Klein’s basement,
we gobbled seven-layer cakes,
chocolate cream pies,
charlotte russes,
linzer tortes
with raspberry jelly oozing.

We didn’t need to worry
about hooligans, bloody
round-ups or pogroms.
Night after night, Papa
returned home unbeaten,
white boxes gleaming
from the bakery,

bags brimming with challah,
frozen-dough rolls, seeded rye.
He repeated, “Never
save on your stomach.”