Peter H. Desmond



For lunch I order the matzo ball soup
before I tour the museum.

"How was it?" asks the waitress
as she wipes the table.

"It was light," I say. "Airy.
A dense matzo ball
is like a stone in your stomach."

She smiles. "Some people ask me
why it doesn't have noodles, or carrots."

Halfway through the exhibit
I reach the hollow boxcar
stencilled "Karlsruhe" on its side:

Karlsruhe, Rhineland hometown
of my German ancestors,
car that rolled towards Mauthausen,

crammed with Jews
from one of the
four hundred ghettos,

each with its own traditions,
its folk songs,
its recipes for soup.


Peter H. Desmond prepares tax returns for writers, artists, and musicians in Cambridge, MA. He's had poems published in a dozen places, is the recipient of three Cambridge Poetry Awards, and was a Pushcart Prize nominee in 2004. He performs his poetry on stage with his writing partner Paula Savoy. His website can be found at: www.peterandpaula.us.


Published in Volume 7, Number 3, Summer 2006.