A potato zucchini kugel bakes in the oven.
Grandma used to make them for us,
children and grandchildren,
in her tiny kitchen in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn.
She made foods from her childhood in Zhitomir,
from before she came to America, back when, I was to learn,
her mother cooked and the Russian soldiers ate.
Protected, perhaps, until 1922, when she, her mother, and her siblings
could join their father in America.
This kugel is not for my daughters and their partners;
nor is it for my mother, and my brother and his family.
It is for me, for me to share with
my group of Jewish and Muslim women
who gather monthly to learn from each other,
to know the other as a friend.
The Jewish women are, like me,
second and third generation American.
Of the Muslim women, some came already
mothers. Now they make the foods from back
there to show love here.
It is not hard to comprehend
this cycle of love and survival,
and the foods that bring memories
that help us survive past and create present.
The us around the table is different,
but not the fact that hearts open
when we become stories ‘round the table.