Inside a caraway seed, half forgotten,
a hint of pepper and peppermint
locked in a small black boat.
In a framework of pores—breaths
of yeast—the boats slip in
to their holes. The slightly sour
flavor of good Jewish rye—I’m
talking about the white stuff not the black—
also promises sweetness. This contradiction
is how flavor defies logic, how
in the end logic is a silly thing
even though it builds bridges and murders
millions, logic forgets the taste of rye
and wouldn’t consider the crust of rye
in all its attributes: firmness, brownness,
circumference, and wisdom in a crust that holds
the whole within its ellipse,
that restrains the moister whiteness
like the mud shore of a lake in the sun.
Again the seeds are boats. Some genius
thought of them. Probably they have
healing powers, even lodged for days
between the teeth, hitchhikers from an old
sandwich, remembrance of things pastrami.


Rodger Kamenetz
from his book the lowercase jew
Triquarterly Books, 2003

This poem was catalogued in Poems and written by Rodger Kamenetz. Bookmark the permalink.

About Rodger Kamenetz

Mr. Kamenetz retired from Louisiana State University in 2010 as the Erich and Lea Sternberg Honors Professor and as an LSU Distinguished Professor. He held a dual appointment as a Professor in the Department of English and in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies. He has four published collections, and his poems have appeared in 25 major anthologies as well as in leading periodicals

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