Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor: Gezundheit

The way this strange, non-English wish
            commuted in a grandmother’s Yiddish
                        mouth, zay gezunt,
 
upon leave taking, go in good health.
            Or with an edge—oh you think selling 
  those combs   
            to your friends’ll make you rich?
 
Zay gezunt,
            good health to you! (implicitly:
                        You fool!).
 
Hear these queer syllables confusing zay for gay,
            laughing when the old lady takes
                        a “zip” of her coke. So 
                             foreign,
 
like the old man so thick with meanness, 
            his father, Sigwart on the wall
            with great aunts and uncles. 
                             Who got out?
 
It’s a risk to say anything these days,
            a club of greedy orders filling 
                        filthy, peppery mouths. Even 
noodle that simple word
 
away from death, sounding authentic 
            in foreign language class where they 
                                  memorize
                        declension charts including 
                                  die
 
to know who is doing what to whom.
 

Copyright 2020 Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor

Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor’s poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Women’s Quarterly Review, Cream City Review, Barrow Street, Puerto Del Sol, and Mom Egg.

3 comments on “Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor: Gezundheit

  1. Jennie Williams
    November 12, 2020

    Gesund originated in Germany, yet lives on in America when someone sneezes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rose Mary Boehm
    November 11, 2020

    Creative, loving, funny, sad… it has every ingredient to delight. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on November 11, 2020 by in Opinion Leaders and tagged , , , , .

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