Split decisions

d’Verse prosery

“I never thought I’d see you again, Meir. Bissel1 of a schlep2 from LA.”

“Tateh’s3 dying, Elisha.”

“So?”

“He asked me to come, Bruder4. He wants to see you.”

“Takeh5? Just like that? Gut6, I’ll get Charlotte and the kinder7I’m sure he wants to…”

“No, Elisha. Just you.”

“They’re his grandchildren, Meir. I’m not – ”

“They’re not Yidden8,9, Elisha.”

“Yes, and I’m dead. The mamzer10 said kaddish11 for me, Meir! Go home.”

“Bruder…”

“Get out of here. You’re wasting your time unless you’ve come for some fresh oysters12.”

“Elisha, biteh13!”

“Look around, Meir. What do you see? This is Tomales Bay!”

“He’s dying!”

“So? Anyone can do that. I did once already! You know, I used to cry every night, Meir, but my tears dried up years ago. No. I do not weep at the world – I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.”


The prompt

d’Verse prosery is flash fiction with a beginning, a middle and an end, in any genre of the author’s choice, no longer than 144 words. This very short piece of prose must include an assigned line from a poem, within the 144 word limit. Writers may change the punctuation of the assigned line, but they may not insert words within the quotation.

The assigned quotation was:

No, I do not weep at the world – I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.

Zora Neale Hurston, from “How Does it Feel to be Colored Me” in World Tomorrow (1928)

Footnotes

  1. Bissel (Yiddish): A bit
  2. Schlep (Yiddish): A tedious or difficult journey
  3. Tateh (Yiddish): Daddy
  4. Bruder (Yiddish): Brother
  5. Takeh (Yiddish): Really
  6. Gut (Yiddish): Good; Okay
  7. Kinder (Yiddish): Children
  8. Yidden (Yiddish): Jews
  9. According to traditional religious law, one is born a Jew only if born from the womb of a Jewish woman
  10. Mamzer (Yiddish, Hebrew): Bastard
  11. Kaddish (Yiddish, Hebrew): Prayer for the dead
  12. Eating shellfish is forbidden according to traditional religious law; i.e., not kosher
  13. Biteh (Yiddish): Please

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