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Definition of Terms.

Definition of Terms

   Maybe it's because my mother met my father through the kosher
   kosher meaning conforming to stubbornness,
   butcher meaning to walk through life with bloody hands,
   & me, the bread of this affliction,
   leavened with the yeast of insistent immigrant ancestors.

   Maybe it's because the night before their wedding, the cracked
      fortune cookie
   warned, "You are doomed to be happy in marriage,"
   doomed meaning inevitable guilt,
   happy meaning one who is blind to missed opportunity,
   the zest of an orange slice eaten from the rind.

   Maybe it's because my mother grew up in Weehawken, New Jersey,
   land of Lincoln Tunnel & of Aaron Burr's duel,
   wee from the Austro-Hungarian meaning trust no one,
   hawken from the Lenni Lenape meaning to clear one's throat
   before saying nothing important.

   Maybe it's because my father had a weak will & a weaker liver,
   always flirted with the waitress, "I'll take a Sloe Comfort-able
   sloe meaning that which is derived from the wild plum,
   comfort meaning the satisfaction of longing,
   the way the juice hides the hardness of vodka.

   Whatever it is, you won't understand when I say our love is like a
      hammer & sickle.
   You will look at me with the eyes of your Irish ancestors
   while we grind each day into a protective touch of cheek at night.
   You will scrub the foundation powder from your face
   but will never get rid of the burden that falls in the lines of
      your skin.
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Author:Grabell, Michael J.
Publication:Southwest Review
Article Type:Poem
Date:Jun 22, 2008
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