A jar of sea salt rests on the table
Of the woman whose home is at the edge
of the pavement in middle Vermont.
Close by, a laptop reveals an image of
A beach scene with Saul and Gertrude,
Children of Moishe and Rivka.
Gertrude is touching the bridge of her nose
The way she recalled her grandmother did
During happier times.
Riddled with survivor’s guilt
Familial echoes of Dachau.
The screen flickers and the Vermont woman,
Who is one-sixteenth Jewish, misses
Seeing her 10th cousin on the monitor
as she straightens the table.
Perhaps the salt is from the dead sea
Saul and Gertrude are not kosher.
They do not care.
Dreaming of Moishe and Rivka, they light
How they ended up on a beach is anybody’s guess.
Could the salt be from Zhirmatov
Where Moishe ran a sugar beet farm
Until an SS squad rounded them up and away?
The woman makes coffee from Sumatra
Filtered through paper from China.
She has traveled widely: statues
From Africa, rugs from Iran, a bronze piece
From Morocco decorate her home; all part
Of her as are genetic snippets from the United Kingdom,
Belgium and an extinct shtetl once in the Ukraine.
Saul and Gertrude:
Unlucky siblings of survivors
Cannot enjoy sun on waves.
Off by the horizon a figure retreats.
They call out to it.
Lot’s wife turns.
All that salt is blown in their faces.
The woman who lives in a house
Where the pavement ends, seasons
Scrambled eggs with black pepper
from Vietnam and absent-mindedly
touches the bridge of her nose.