The man who almost wasn’t sits down at the table.
The woman who barely made it serves him plum cake.
This is my home: It is good here. Safe.
Mother leans on Father. Father leans on shadow.
At night they tiptoe into my room in beekeeper clothing,
rub my temples with wax.
We are a very warm family.
The floor burns under our feet.
We believe in walls. Believe less in a roof.
It has to be built every morning anew. We build.
There is ammunition in the medicine cabinet
and a bribe in the bank for the guard
who lets us steal across the border every night.
Silence is the pitch that stops up openings, seals the floors.
I hear something deep roaring and swelling:
There’s a sea underneath the foundations of home.
This house is filled with love. Father is strong
And Mother good-looking.
Gershwin could have written our lullaby.
What good will this sorrow do?
Where will I lead this sorrow?
Where will I sit it down when it gets here?
What will I give it to eat?
—Translated by Vivian Eden