Thursday, August 11, 2005

Poem by my mother

On the 25th Anniversary of My Sister’s Death
(for Laura Kaplan Levin, 1946-1980)

by Bonnie Lyons

I looked up and you were there, smiling.
You’d arranged for a baby-sitter, driven to Trenton,
taken a train to Penn Station, caught a taxi to the Hilton
on West 54th and in the maze of meeting rooms
found the correct one by 8:30 AM just to hear me
read a paper I can no longer remember at the annual MLA convention.
A few hours later we were standing in line at Dubrow’s
when this old couple, unaware that Dubrow’s was Daddy’s cafeteria,
told us the Chinese food was terrible. The more they warned us,
the more we laughed. The more we laughed,
the more they warned us. Between bites of scrumptious blintzes
and sour cream (who orders Chinese food at a Jewish cafeteria?)
we looked into each other’s face and collapsed into giggles.
Then you glanced at your watch, gasped, and we sprinted
back to Penn station just in time for your return trip.
Thirty years later I clearly see us running
side by side, laughing all the way.


Anonymous said...

Very sorry about this sad anniversary. Life is fleeting and we don't know when it will be our turn to leave. Every day is like a precious gift. Your mother's story is very well written, but she didn't elaborate on your sister's death.

By the way, I had a friend who once ordered a chicken fried steak in a Chinese restaurant.

Eve said...

Not sure who this is...

Thanks for the condolences. I obviously know the details behind my aunt's death, but I think it's not what the poem is about. Nor, really, is it about Dubrow's, yet that is where the memory takes place.

I think that's what's so magical about a restaurant like Dubrow's - it just becomes a part of our lives, and the events of our lives wind up shaping themselves to incorporate the places, the landmarks...