Peace/Pieces of Mind by Yermiyahu Ahron Taub


Come to take the waters. Partake of them. Our town is not renowned for them, but they are there. And they are not far from where you can be staying. Will be staying? Impossible to know now for how long. Yes, there will be guided excursions to the waters. See: our windows open onto the mountains. No, they are not barred. Well, some of them are. But only those that need to be. Look at how easily these ones here open. That’s right, just a flick of the handle. Step out onto the limestone balconies. There are many to choose from. Isn’t the carving exquisite? No, you certainly can’t find that kind of artistry anymore. The skill sets aren’t there. As you can see, we have worked to preserve the grandeur. But our standards within have been updated since the founding. The attendants will guide you onto the balconies if you’re feeling unsure. If you need a nudge or a bit of coaxing. Yes, we call them attendants. We prefer that over other titles. That is what they do—attend to your needs. We look for a certain circumspection in our attendants. A strength of character. And of body…in case that’s needed. In case things get “out of hand.” Which we hope they won’t…and don’t expect them to. Glorious, isn’t it all? Quietly so. Our “physical plant,” I mean. For the purposes at hand, that is. Hopefully, not “over the top.” You know, we don’t usually resort to speaking in quotes so much, but sometimes it’s just what’s needed. Not an accidental word choice, eh? This is a kind of resort, isn’t it? Sometimes, these expressions are just useful. The words of the people. But yes, discretion is really what we’ve aimed for. And notions of discretion have shifted over time. That can’t be helped. But you can trust us.


Never you mind the cannon fire in the distance. It’ll simmer down. Or it won’t. Either way, it won’t affect us. The general will stay away from us. What’s he called—the Commander?—has seen to that. And if he doesn’t, well, we’re figure something out. We don’t have an inflated sense of our influence, but we’ve always been resourceful. We think you’ll enjoy your stay. However long it may be. However long it needs to be. You’ll know when it’s time to come. And when it’s time to leave. You’ll get help with both of those decisions. We’ll see to that. Our experts will. Don’t be fooled by their white coats. They’re all very approachable. Relaxed even. The way you would be if you were here. Pioneering, they are, open to all the latest methodologies, but also steeped in tradition. And our rooms are comfortable. Let’s have a look. We might as well. We’re here, aren’t we? They’re equipped to be unequipped. Safety in simplicity. Minimalism equals restoration. These are just a few of our mottoes. Our food, too, is plain. But nurturing. Tasty but without agitation-inducing spices. This is not a place where agitation is encouraged or in any way nurtured. In nature will you be at one with, and indeed, nurtured by, nature, we like to say.


Come to take the waters. Partake of them. As I’ve said, our town is not renowned for them, but they are here. That’s right, step away from the balcony edge now. And down this path we go. Feel the closeness of the pines. You do have to keep your sandals on here, but you can still enjoy the pine needle carpet. They’re there for you. Feel the water’s freshness, the cool of its clean. Immerse yourself. Cleanse all that came before. It will still be there. Only cleaner. Yes, here’s a towel now. Easy does it. You’ve got this. We’re so glad you decided to come. Or it was decided. Yes, the decision has been documented. We still keep a register. Old-fashioned but “does the trick.” One of our traditions. Our quirks. There’s no need to dwell on that moment of transition. What a wonderful bath you’ve had! Great! The stars and waters were aligned today. Your first day. You’re here now. Be proud. I’d like to see some pride. No need to think about what brought you here, however cleansed it may currently be. There’ll be time for that later. For now, this bed. This chair. Yes, a desk for journaling. But again, that later. For now, easy does it. There you go. Shhh. No tears. I don’t want to have to call the attendants. Please don’t make me have to do that. Off you go. Yes, lights out. I’m going now. We’ll see you in the morning. You’re fine. You’re safe now. Just call if you need anything. We’re always here for you. Yes, I’m going now. I’m going to XXXX the door behind you. Behind me. We won’t use the “l” word here. You won’t even hear the bolt moving into place.

Picture of Yermiyahu Ahron Taub

Yermiyahu Ahron Taub

Yermiyahu Ahron Taub is a poet, writer, and translator of Yiddish literature. He is the author of two books of fiction and six volumes of poetry, including A Mouse Among Tottering Skyscrapers: Selected Yiddish Poems (2017). His recent translations from the Yiddish include Dineh: An Autobiographical Novel (2022) by Ida Maze and Blessed Hands: Stories (2023) by Frume Halpern. Please visit his website. Taub lives in Washington, D.C.

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