box of jars

daniel kraines
Ivan the Prodigy
I grew up at the piano in my grandmother's apartment
in a drowsy neighborhood of Vienna. 

We didn't like Jews 
but we were educated and didn't look at them as lower citizens.

My father's disgust had nothing to do with the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. 
Jews are a snively people, he said.

We were agnostic, but when a chambermaid quit, we told her: Go work for Jews 
and remember. they crucified our lord. 

Still, I loved to lace my skates and watch them
from the bank of the pond in Stadtpark as they glided on their edges carving doilies 

into the black ice while I chanted low to myself,
the unthinkable: Little Jewess, little Jewess, skate over to me.

If only they weren't so pushy and insistent, so forbidden,
I could have asked a Minka to sit on Oma's sofa while I enticed her with Bach.