but denser. There is a gnawing of teeth.
We spread butter and jam. The cousins
of your grandmother are ghosts now,
dead because there was no wheat
in the Ukraine. Here there are fields
of grain, and shelves of sweet things.
Your grandmother offers me мясо.
I know this word means meat,
because when a person speaks it
their jaw opens wide and their teeth are bared,
ready to strike into a piece of flesh.
Your uncle offers me водка. A clear
liquid is poured into my glass. The word
he slurred, vodka, is barely distinguishable
in my ears from вода, meaning water.
The к, then, must be the poison in the water.
A toast is made. I drink the glass in one gulp.
All toasts are for the dead.
All meals are for the living.