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We stocked up on whatever the PennySaver
prescribed: root vegetables and graham crackers,
oatmeal and margarine, off-brand

Oreos with nothing sweet inside.
Familiar, this American hunger.
We downed ginger beer and punch; drank

in our parents’ fear of standing out—
never Boston nor Brahmin enough.
Then we brought home iceberg lettuce heads,

matzah, gefilte fish, brisket, kosher for Passover
macaroons, and faux bacon strips of beef.
Each Saturday Dad took us to the Star Market,

the Stop & Shop, Purity Supreme—
we traveled with rainchecks and triple coupons,
hunted down the managers’ unadvertised specials.

And later, in the ice-cold basement
we stockpiled my father’s silver tins of Starkist,
my mother’s stewed prune preserves

creating our own force field against pogroms—
and the family’s old-fashioned custom of feasting
on pinecones at the edge of the partisan forest.



Susan Rich is the author of Gallery of Postcards and Maps: New and Selected Poems (Salmon). Her sixth book, Blue Atlas, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press.




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