Grandfather did magic,
with a tremulous slight-of-hand.
Cards and coins vanished
before my surprised eyes.

He could do soft-shoe and tap dance
with a cane like a vaudevillian pro.
He loved to tell corny jokes
heard on Eddie cantor’s radio show
that never failed to amuse him no end.

We went to the Stanton Street Shul
on Saturday mornings. I tossed
small paper bags filled with peanuts
and raisins at Bar-Mitzvah boys.

The scent of leather phylacterie
straps permeated the premises
from the men laying on tefillin
on arms, hands and fingers
as well as on the top of the head.

Is that why anti-Semites
think Jews have horns,
or was it Michelangelo’s
portrayal of Moses?

Afterwards, he shared snuff
with friends, who sipped wine
and relished schmaltz herring
on Challah, woven together
with six strands, representing
the six lost tribes.

Sabbath lunch; borscht and pitcha,
followed by a chulent, baked overnight
on a coal kitchen stove.

Grandfather had only one request:
He wanted a photo of himself
dressed exactly as a photo
of his father taken years earlier.

When I was old enough to use

a Brownie Kodak Box camera,
he got the picture he wanted,
just before he died.

Little did he know his great-grandson
became a columnist for the Forward,
the only newspaper he ever read
while drinking Swee-touch-nee tea
in a glass with a cube of sugar.

He was just a man, loved, and not forgotten.

What will my grandchildren remember of me?