I cleaned the house
top to bottom.
In all the years’ corners
dusted life’s stray leaves.
Polished the proud candlesticks
of numberless Sabbaths,
the kiddush cups and the Seder plate—
gifts for our wedding.
Spread out the white tablecloth
in the shabbes-yontev room
where holy books and family pictures
All my years shine before my eyes
while quiet prayers are noble in the light.
From Step by Step: An Anthology of Contemporary Yiddish Poetry, forthcoming in 2009 from Quodlibet. By arrangement with the authors. Translations copyright 2008 by Zachary Sholem Berger. All rights reserved.