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Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Marxist Miracle

Petra was bored with manual labor

I wasn’t made to be a kibbutznik she said

Zionism gave way 

to seeking enlightenment in India 


where she contracted a bad case of dysentery

lay suffering on the dirt floor of a hut for months 

lost the ability to intervene in life on her own behalf 


was a millimeter from death 

when a moth fluttered its wings 

and the tide of her health turned 


Her homecoming to the kibbutz 

found her much reduced in size and strength 

her face gaunt 

nearly unrecognizable 


but the other volunteers did remember her bullying

back when she was physically powerful

how she would sneak up behind them 

and put them into painful hammerlocks 

and make them beg

for mercy 


Revenge is a dish best served cold, said Lena, a Ukranian 

It was one of the few complete English sentences 

Lena could recite 

She also knew how to order a pastrami sandwich


She was a small, thin raven-haired exile who

when she wasn’t working in the kibbutz kitchen

wore a ratty white fox collar 

that had belonged to her iconic mother 

and drenched herself with cheap perfume

called Moonlight in Jerusalem

she got at the market in a nearby Arab town

real cheap  

because she let the merchant feel her up


When I climbed through her barracks window at night 

to make love to her 

I brought a wet washcloth 

to wipe it away with 

Otherwise I would gag 


I like you as you are I told her with all your own odors 

but she didn’t understand

what I was saying  

and only smiled extravagantly 


She had teeth like a weasel 

which shone in the dark

especially when in the throes of passion


When she punched Petra in the belly 

and pushed her down onto the dirt and gravel

she felt that a Marxist/Biblical miracle had occurred

The first will be last 

the last first 


I took the kids’ orders 

and struggled against my urges to overfill

The cones I created looked doll-like

very wrong

My signature had been excess

Now my work had been standardized


Under Eppa’s supervision 

I bowed down to the profit motive 

Eppa was the boss’s daughter 

and my girlfriend

and I cringed 

as she hovered over me

watching my every move

enforcing her father’s will


With every miniature cone I made

I fought the impulse to tear off my apron

throw it to the floor

and stomp out

never to see Eppa again


but she had conquered me sexually


I could not imagine my nights without her


With each tiny scoop I held out 

to the disappointed children

who had grown used to my generosity

my depression engine whirred 

reminding me that I was worthless

that my life was unfolding badly 


I kept working

Sweat broke out on my forehead

Eppa examined me as if I were an insect

The children wondered if they could use me 

in their next science project


The sun streamed through the window 

I felt an ocular migraine coming on

It was like watching a sinister stranger 

approach from a distance

I reached into my shirt pocket for my Ray-Bans

I’d forgotten them 

I cursed myself 


I kept scooping ice cream


Black Walnut 


I trembled on the edge of the migraine

but it didn’t come

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