The Columbia Review, Spring 2016

Page 42

the columbia review

Haiku Story Rebecca Aronauer


round the same time Dov started talking about quitting The Dads and giving up music altogether, I left my job to become a haiku poet. I was a little wound-up about the whole haiku enterprise, and I woke up early most mornings. The day of Dov’s GRE was no different, and I got up before dawn. From my bedroom window, I watched the light change from black to navy to a deep blue, and then into a pink lightness. I wrote, and counted, and rewrote, and ended up with: “Wake up in time to / See the sky fill up with pink / It won’t last all day” and I felt good. A few hours later, I went to the Lower East Side, where Dov lived with his sister, Jamie, above the bagel shop their great-grandfather opened in 1912. She had invited me over for brunch. “Thank god you’re here, Allison. We have so much food,” Jamie said when she opened the door. “I told Dad we were having one friend over, and he gave us enough for a bris.” 44

They always had enough food for a minyan, but today there was a genuine spread in their living room: various smoked and cured fish, different kinds of cream cheese, and sliced tomatoes as red as the Swiss flag. It was good news for me: Frank & Son Bagels were a New York institution, for many years and in many magazines, the home of the best bagel in the city. “I would love my parents to send me food like this,” I said. “My dad just mails me dental floss.” “Do you have any? I can’t remember the last time I flossed,” Dov said. I took a box out of my bag and handed it to him. My father, a dentist, had raised me to travel with the stuff, and at 24, I never had so much as a filling. “‘Bleeding makes you want / to floss less, but really you / should be flossing more. Katz Dentistry, Shaker Heights, Ohio,’” Dov read from the box. “Did you write that?” “In elementary school,” I said, and maybe blushed. I had written it as a 10 year-old, and it remained my most popular poem. “That really changes the way I

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