Grandad’s Passover




I open Nana’s recipe book, find

the Passover recipe. Soak

currants, glace cherries, orange peel

in a Kiddush cup of sweet

kosher wine. Cream butter

and sugar, add six eggs one

by one, almond and matzo meal

with a teaspoon of cinnamon.

I want this magic-spell recipe to make

him remember.


We arrive at the nursing home

second night Seder. Grandad recognises

the box of matzah. Says ‘Pesach!’

as though wondering how he could forget.

He sings along to the Ma Nishtana,

reaches a hand to his head— yarmulke

in place. His right hand holds

the Kiddush cup, touch familiar.

He is offered a pickle.

‘Should be safe’ he says.


We give him a piece of Passover fruitcake.

I wait, wanting Nana’s recipe to trigger

taste-memory. Want him to recall

a sweetness only this cake can bring.

He takes a bite. And as my uncle wheels him

back to his room, he notices the photo

of Nana on the wall, says

‘that’s my darling wife’.


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