Love Song/Nostrand Avenue

by Aliza Einhorn

The fruit and vegetable stands of Nostrand
Avenue are waving

are welcoming the houseguest
Newark, Ohio

Grapefruit and ginger
red beans and oranges
scallions are waving
dozens of them waving

Welcome, Czarina
beloved Maine-born houseguest
graduate of Brandeis
Professor of Comparative Religion
I hope the Cossacks won’t find you
here in East Flatbush

Are we the only Jews tonight on this side of
Nostrand Avenue?
the United West Indies of Brooklyn
my landlady saying: don’t worry, you look

Here is the man at the bodega downstairs, he
loves me truly
On Monday he made me chicken and a baked potato
On Tuesday he made me salmon and a baked potato
On Wednesday he asked me: are you single?
he waits for me each morning to get my New York Post

And the men will come and go
up and down Nostrand Avenue
it is winter in the city


Houseguest saying she heard the neighbors
fighting last night
It sounded final downstairs
People die in Brooklyn daily
People die from axes and machetes
and heartbreak, three of swords
Two teenagers make violence for an iPod cell
phone iPhone
People die and
the day I die will be the happiest is what I tell
my lover
who I do love
the happiest of my life
(Brooklyn will kill you. Even after you’re dead.)

So after work I come home, bring
kosher baked chicken
sweet kugel with raisins
cucumber salad

Yes I’ve been to the Lower East Side again
to Grand Street is grand again today
and two potato knishes for you to take on the
plane back home
to Newark, Ohio
where your students will be waiting come
spring, come spring semester
for your wisdom, your class on Chinese
Popular Religion
your thin curly hair, Lithuanian face like a little
Kafka wolf


This poem is for your coming and your going

for the days in Brooklyn when
you came to work with me walked down
the Brooklyn streets with me
flew down the
rode the buses through Crown Heights
Prospect Heights Weeksville
without complaint on the B45 B65 holding on
fighting off a migraine
your Kafka face was shrinking

The apartment now gone back to normal Christmastime
houseguest gone
Brooklyn back to normal
the New Year is over, Czarina
for Newark, Ohio
where have you gone

And the men will come and go
running up and down Nostrand Avenue
they are screaming
where have you long gone

As the man at the bodega loves me truly
he waits for me each morning to get my
New York Post


Read The Story Behind “Love Song/Nostrand Avenue” on our blog.

About Aliza Einhorn

Aliza is a poet and playwright, graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She makes her living as an Astrologer and Tarot Reader in New York City. You can find her blogging daily at

Aliza Einhorn

Aliza Einhorn is online at