My grandmother lapsed
into Yiddish only on special occasions
“where other words won’t fit”
she said, where there is
no English to describe
the indescribable, blessed
be He, but we knew
that it was merely
a convenient way to keep
us out of the conversation,
while they clucked.
Mah Johng is a game
that can only be played
in Yiddish, she said,
to hell with thousands
of years of Chinese history.

She remembers the Golem
she met him once
on Fourteenth Street
when she still had
the liquor store.
She thought it strange
that he wanted gin
and not Slivovitz
but Golem can be strange
under the right circumstances,
and he did speak Yiddish.


This could be one of those days
when you think you might want
to finally climb Olympus and have
that discussion with the gods.
They’ve been up there forever
and it isn’t clear they serve any
Purpose other than taking up space
and betting on when Sisyphus
will get the rock to the top of the hill.
It would probably be worth the effort
just to see the look on the old
gods’ faces when you tell them
old Sisyphus retired to West Palm Beach
several centuries ago and barely
gets around to canasta and mah jongg
on his walker these days, the old rock
shipped up to Plymouth to replace
the one that used to sit in the harbor
until it eroded into little more
than stones along the beach.
Anyway there is time enough
for that tomorrow, Iceland’s playing
Hungary in the European Championship.