Nowadays the Blue Is Hidden
The blue was taken from a snail found in the Sea. The snail comes up once every 70 years.
– Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 26a, Menachot 44a
There is a street in Paris (11th arrondissement) called
The Street of Tailors. I visited my friend who
lives near the street of tailors. We went to eat at a café
around the corner. The first day we passed the street of tailors,
I asked him, What is this street?
Don’t know, he said.
The next time we passed it, I asked again,
Where does the name – street of tailors – come from?
It once was a street of tailors, he said.
We passed it again the next day,
What is the street of tailors? I asked.
He said this: I heard that there was a street of tailors working there,
then the Germans took Paris, June 14, 1940,
and they all disappeared.
A street of tailor artists, seventy years of ghosts, they have not changed
the name of the street. A chasid on the sixth floor
ascends and descends silently
to make the evening prayers.
The street of tailors.
He knows fabrics but is a failure at freedom. Fingering the coat
he peers over his glasses. Nice merchandise, he says.
Expert in drapes and Torah, hands stained
with experimental dyes, he mixes a perfect blend
for a priestly tunic. Expatriates tell jokes
in a café, they order intestines all around.
It smells like an insult. Later they fuss
and pass the street of tailors.
The tailors sewed in secrecy, to recover the lost blue thread,
mystery blue, a deceased mollusk carried it
into the deep where it gave birth,
in salt, to the sea.