The Sounds of Yiddish

Robin Becker

Splat like matzoh broken and dropped

in the egg-milk mix for matzohbrei.

They knock you deep in the kishkes.

They smart—kine ahora—with the schtick of the canny mensch who knows schlock when she sees it.

Hear that rumbling across Ukraine?

Yiddish ran from a posse of hazards when my Bubbe left her shtetl,

Russians at her back and a mongrel,

Middle High German in her mouth.

A language is a dialect with an army and a navy the saying goes.

To which my peasant relatives reply,

Spare us what we can learn to endure.

haggadah Section: Tzafun