Monday, January 13, 2014


artwork: ralph murre

by Florence Weinberger

The fat women in the Coney Island steam bath
pinched my cheek and laughed at nothing,
sweat gleaming off their skin and coarse, curly hair,
not a bone to be seen anywhere,

not in my aunt’s long breasts, none in the flesh
of my mother’s belly.  I grew up in the shelter
 of kitchen gossip, amplitude nourished by yeasty smells,
pillows of soft-rising dough, a feminine language

that taught me where the body begins, its armature
concealed, its health augmented like good soup. 
By sixth grade, I knew I was fat.  I married a man
with a flat stomach and an unrequited hunger.

The soup the Nazis fed him in their concentration camp
was thin as silk, what floated there thinner still.
From the aunts and mothers I learned wisdom is liquid,
rescue, a recipe they give to their daughters.

When the soup is done, I remove the bones,
scoop out the glutinous marrow, every last shred.
I spread it on fresh rye bread.
            I watch him eat, and my heart gets fat.

~ First appeared on The Pedestal