Lush bouquets blossom
in a wedding celebration;
guests circle around in a Hora
to a strident Klezmer band.

Zayde comes down from Coxsackie
stomping the Kazatzka,
no longer afraid of Cossacks,
even with lentils stuck in his beard.

Grandma shows off a ruby ring
and string of amber beads
that reach down to her pelvis.

She mumbles words of wisdom, advising:
some families breathe, and others asphyxiate.

Wearing long winter underwear,
her pelvis once peaked a kid’s curiosity,
exposing white pubes, in the light of morning
as she rose from her bed.

Uncle Heshy, who repaired tanks in the Negev,
helps him change the plugs in a ’49 Land Rover.
They sit on jump seats, in a glow of cigarettes,
as they polish off a fifth of Slivovitz.

His String Theory roommate, a devout atheist,
visits his parents, one cold Chanukah night.
As they lights candles, chanting prayers,
he mutters in his snarky voice: “How pathetic!”

Cousin Jack, a hypochondriac,
heads a blurry roster of casualties.
He keels over, lucky to die the good death,
after whining about dying for over fifty years.