AT THE YIDDISH LIBRARY
By Richard Fein
For Seth Wolitz
“A student . . . huh? I am Menakhem Kipnis. You know me? Huh?”
“Oh yes, I have read Crossing Lines. Powerful book.”
“Warsaw Globus Press nineteen hundred and
Kipnis biblio-elongated into the student’s ear.
Eyes shining, Kipnis left, returning in a few minutes with a copy of his
Standing above the student, he clutched the book, shaking it as if it
were a noisemaker.
“My poetry — ‘Across the bridge the village waited’ — my poetry!”
He shook the book so hard the brittle pages started splintering,
foxed particles flaking his shoulders, the floor, the student’s head and
The librarian shouted: “STOP! What are you doing? It’s our only
The student tried to grasp the book falling apart before everyone’s
Kipnis clung to it as it kept on disappearing, shreds flittering, everyone
screaming at him.
Finally he was overcome, the remnant of his book wrested away from
An effort was made to recover the scraps, some fracturing further in
The shelver hurried over from her cart, holding Kipnis’s hand,
whispering “There, there” into his ear.
Copyright © 2016 by Richard Fein.