by Rachel Roberts (San Jose, CA)
She is old and young
all at once.
She carries centuries
and a language no longer spoken
in a stewpot
fastened to her back,
with a ladle to draw deep,
as she smiles, only remembering
as far back as yesterday;
The family complains that
her chicken has cholesterol
and that the flanken is fattening.
There is too much shiny oil
and not enough fresh green
to comport with vain standards of modern health;
But to me, the smell of onions in a pan
is beauty and perfect love
in the midst of a world malnourished
by exact measurements
and starved of substances that cannot
be easily quantified;
She knew how to love without hurting.
She loved us even when we did not love ourselves.
She forgot our infractions,
and stopped us from carrying anger in our hearts
simply by virtue of her example.
She overcooked her food and overwatered her plants.
Simple. Small. Innocent Diviner.
Her price is far above rubies.
Rachel Roberts wrote this poem in honor of her grandmother, Ida Rubin z”l, and read it at her funeral in Livingston, NJ on February 21, 2011. You can read more of Rachel’s poetry at her blog, A Postalcard from Ashkenaz: http://postalcard.posterous.com/