Paprika by Alan Bern



by Alan Bern

At the very back of our ancient Frigidaire is a little bag made of white cotton; the red letters on it spell Paprika. Sweet, we remember. I rarely see the bag—for fifteen years it’s sat there following our Budapest trip.

Annie, your brain’s half-gone now, but, before your decline, with your thin eyebrows raised, you explained to us that, from our description, you believed we’d purchased our Paprika in a store right next to the pastry shop Lukács in the odd-shaped square where the Germans had taken off your favorite aunt and your loud mother’s mother.

Yes, it’s difficult to remember all these things, and we must assume the Paprika’s now stale. Perhaps, too, it’s gone bad with bugs.


Retired children’s librarian Alan Bern is cofounder with artist/printer Robert Woods of the illustrated broadside press/publisher Lines & Faces. Alan is also a photographer and an award-winning writer with recent work in Raw Art Review, CERASUS, Mediterranean Poetry, Last Leaves, Feral, and Mercurius. He is the author of three books of poetry and performs with dancer/choreographer Lucinda Weaver as PACES: dance & poetry fit to the space and with musicians from Composing Together.

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