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Hunger by Dianne Stepp

published in Cider Press Review


by Dianne Stepp

after In Memory’s Kitchen: A Legacy from the Women of Terezin

They dream of yeast and goose fat, dough plaited to dough, the old women of Theresienstadt.

Linzer torte, pirogen, goulash with noodles.

Under the dead stars, beside the stunned windows,

the blank belly of the stove.

They argue about hazelnuts in chocolate cake, whether ground or chopped.

Whose version of coffee caramels.

From freezing bunks at night, they lament Krieg— the food substitutes of war—

ersatz coffee, honey, egg optional in the strudel.

Someone calls for her favorite galantine of chicken, garnished with caviar and paprika.

They press poems between the recipes. Letters, Yahrzeit notes for the dead,

thread the pages to a book, hide it like a stolen loaf.

The daughter into whose hands years later a stranger presses this parcel

trembles to touch it—

cries of apricot, apples, the small mouths of berries.

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