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The Izaak Synagogue


In Kazimierz, the old Jewish section of Kraków, Poland
We found the Synagogue on Honey Street
but sweetness didn’t sit beneath our tongues,
not when the only Jew who davened there
was black and white: a life-sized cardboard man,
a Hasid from another century
who bent black-coated toward the missing Ark,
bowing, as if half-risen from his seat
and waiting for a prayer to be sung.
Hard to forget his face. But tourists stared
at him then hurried to their caravans,
rushing perhaps to the next oddity.
A kosher meal? A klezmer band? The dark
locations where the ghetto used to rot?
Hard to forget this place. And yet it’s not.


“The Izaak Synagogue” originally appeared in “The Hardship Post” (Three Candles Press, 2009). Jehanne Dubrow is the author of the poetry collections “The Arranged Marriage” (University of New Mexico Press, 2015) and “Red Army Red” (Northwestern University Press, 2012). Her sixth book of poems, “Dots & Dashes,” won the Crab Orchard Review Open Competition and will be published by Southern Illinois University Press this year. She is an associate professor of creative writing at the University of North Texas.