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A New Colossus

A Celebration of Our America

Migration

Mostly I come from shtetl people except one great-great-someone who comes from
banking money but who left to follow a saloon owner to lower Manhattan. 


Ah, love. Genetically, perhaps, I’m programmed to put love first. I’m a fainter. 
Sometimes I can’t even pinpoint the cause. 

When I was a kid in Los Angeles, we’d go every half year or so to visit Uncle Abe who
wasn’t my uncle but someone’s uncle and he kept a dish of strawberry hard candies
for me and then I had to be very quiet and listen. 

Everyone who could speak Yiddish sentences to me is dead or doesn’t remember
me. I knew an Irish guy from the rust belt who learned Yiddish words listening to
Howard Stern’s raunchy bullshit show. 

One intolerable August I went down to Division St. to find the saloon building. It’s an
overpass now. I overheated and had to cool down in the air of a drab KFC.

I know you hate change but I don’t know what else we do but keep going. That’s the
other thing about genetics. I see in my children a kind of hereafter.
 

    • Listen: Lynn Melnick reciting Migration

Lynn Melnick

Lynn Melnick is the author of the poetry collections Landscape with Sex and Violence (forthcoming, 2017) and If I Should Say I Have Hope (2012) ...