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June 2009, vol 5 no 2

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Tad Wojnicki

 

Write Like a Lover!

My little brother helped me hit America, but I helped him quit Poland first. That time, there was no way to quit without joining the Communist Party, or I was too stupid. Desperate to leave, I wrote scholars, called philosophers, and fired letters in any language I could crack, seducing pen pals.

fast mail
my hand
her pocket

I had always been a k’nacker, Yiddish for “show-off,” at knocking off a killer missive. Lovers begged me to sing their love. “Make her fall for me,” they would whine. "Break her heart as she has mine." So, I did. “If I get you, I get a future,” I would woo, for instance. “If I don’t, I don't even get a past.” I fooled folks to fall for each other, and then, I watched them walk about wounded, weak, lovesick. It felt good. I loved to write like a lover. And just like Srulik, the Sholom Aleichem’s hero, I brought lots of lovers together while getting more and more lonely myself.

shoemakers
go shoeless
lovers loveless

One day I got a letter from Israel, Mama called. She shipped it in a rogaleh package. Mama baked great rogaleh — crunchy, cheesy, sugar-dusted with poppy-seeds. I was dying to sink my teeth in the baked goods, but even more in the letter. But it wasn’t to be — a thief got a whiff, cut a hole, ate the stuff, and stole the letter. All I got was a box full of smell. The girl's name was Dorota Jakubowicz, Mama recalled. I traveled to Israel trice, never finding her.

rushing creek
log stuck
spinning

About the same time, a perfumed letter came from a 16-year-old girl, Missy, living in Sacramento. I had dreamed of seducing an American girl, but here, one was seducing me. Pure angel, godsend. I couldn’t believe my luck. But I couldn’t get her, either — she was too green, too baby. So, instead, I knocked off a killer letter and signed my brother's name.

Mario and Missy hit it off right from the go. Soon, Missy, now legal, flew in to visit. Then, she flew in again — this time, to marry Mario and fly together. Payback time had arrived. Once in America, Missy fired off a missive to Poland to let me go.

my hand
flowering, an old
love letter

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