He’s buried in Tunisia.
A Jewish star in a field of crosses
His death a catalyst.
His brother joined the war
Pulls on his boots.
Tightens his laces.
Kisses his mother goodbye.
And leaves the only home he’s ever known,
Along with so many other fresh-faced boys
Not ready for what they will soon endure.
They ransack the factory.
Nazi Germany 1943.
The general tells him
“Take as many as you want.”
As if teapots could ever replace his brother.
The one who taught him
To fish and swim and talk to girls
The one who pushed him on the swings and chased him down the street.
As if teapots could ever replace
The six million Jews, the countless countrymen,
All the stories that will never have a happy ending.
All those deaths in vain.
A single teapot.
Thin and white and covered in silver flowers,
Sitting on Bubbe’s wooden shelf,
Next to the music boxes and snow globes that enchanted a young girl,
And the silver candlesticks they lit each Friday night.
But Zayde’s business is struggling.
Rent is going up.
Getting rid of useless things.
Now it’s wrapped tightly in newspaper.
Nestled in bubble wrap, held in a cardboard box.
Stacked in the back of the green Prius,
Crowded by all the luggage, and all the baggage.
Now it sits on the kitchen shelf.
A reminder of
Long gone relatives,
Battles long ago won,
Cups of tea long since swallowed
Looking at it the girl can hear all the sounds it once heard:
sugar spoons clinking against little cups,
giggling aunts, gossip they whispered,
Looking at it she can see the remains of
So many stories.
Ones she knows she’ll never hear
That’ll break her heart,
Make her laugh until she cries
It was just a single teapot.
One of many in the manufacturing line.
It was just for holding tea.
But now it holds so much more.