To Never Know Nana’s Favorite

You’ll always be the story
with an unknown

A plot not allowed to unfold.
A premature climax.
An unlikely protagonist.
An unsuspecting conflict.
A setting of details unwanted.
A character never developed.
Nana, Unknown.

You’ll also be my favorite tale.
A tale with threads of many hues.
I ask about your favorites –

books (genre undisclosed)
songs (did you play the flute)
foods (did you have a sweet tooth)
I search for clues. I search for You.
Answers clash. Syllables are rash.
Brows furrow. Tongues tie.
Yiddish blurs with Kaddish.
Dialects denied.
Elders tire while I
crave details of Life.
Last week we gathered
at the seder table and recited the Four Questions.
I improvise.
What’s the flavor of a lie told with good intentions?
Does soil remember the soles of souls and final dimensions?
Why does hate proliferate?
Why did so many have to die?
I’ll never know the answers to my questions.
Truth neither realistic nor required.
I’ll never know the scent of your mornings.
Truth unable to be verified.
I’ll never know the setting of your story.
Seeds denied both sun and shade.
Eager to flap wings you did not have.
A life in frames. Denied a proper ending.
I continue to ask Why.

About the Poem

In honor of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.

About the Author

Jen Schneider is an educator who lives, works, and writes in small spaces throughout Pennsylvania.

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