I’ll pour salt in a swimming pool if you told me you loved the ocean
Uncapping bottle after bottle of kosher salt and watching as it forms a milky hill, and then dissolves.
I’d take you to the Dead Sea if you told me you only liked the salt
Yes the sea is dead but we would be alive as we’d ever been
we’d walk barefoot through the Negev, I would clasp your hand so you would not float away again.
Or we can just go to Brighton beach.
We’d spot the ocean through the gaps in the apartment houses on the Q line.
You remember the old country right?
It’s just like that.
We always said something seemed off.
Like you were from another time or place.
Maybe it was the wire glasses.
Or the way you smiled at the world like you’ve seen a lot, but never this.
If it was the water you missed, I’d bring back the children.
I would hand them a hose and tin mugs, red and blue
with white specks like the stars I don’t see in the city.
I’d tell them to go to town, and you would run from them with water splashing out of your sandals.
You were my heatwave crush, my shaded woodland love, ice water of my heart, salt of my memory
This piece is a part of the Berru Poetry Series, which supports Jewish poetry and poets on PB Daily. JBC also awards the Berru Poetry Award in memory of Ruth and Bernie Weinflash as a part of the National Jewish Book Awards. Click here to see the 2020 winner of the prize. If you’re interested in participating in the series, please check out the guidelines here.
Leonora Tepper is a student from Brooklyn, New York.