Mother Tongue

by Mari Pack 

Walking to the shuq to buy tapoocheem, chalav, and lechem from a merchant who didn’t care—
b’emet, why would he? — that Hebrew twists a mouth open, insides spilling out, asks me to
abandon English grammar, repeat what I knew on the bima as a child only through tongue shape,
baruch atah adonai cracking into loose syllables, the violent Velcro tear.

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