Latkes in Minneapolis

Delayed by storms, I’m having latkes

in a hotel and you all come flooding

back to me. Grandma pressing them

with an old spatula on her Brooklyn

stove. Dad saying, “Ma, you’re making

enough for an army.” And Mom having

a cigarette in the corner, arms folded,

back against the wall.

In my sixty-sixth year, the smell of latkes

makes me feel you mother, a year after

your death. I miss what we never had.

You were always burning up, pressing

things on the stove. I still don’t know

why. But today, on a cloudy day in

Minneapolis, I wonder if, like some-

one trapped in a burning building,

you pushed me into the world

to save me from your fire.

This excerpt is from a book in progress, Returning to Where I’ve Never Been.

*photo credit: Suludan Diliyaer