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David Lehman

The word means fleshy in a sensual, feminine way,
though sometimes it just means extra large.
It’s a word you may not know if you’re
not from New York but from the heartland, 
the prairie, the plains. Let me illustrate.
Michael, the Yankees’ play-by-play man,
announcing a pitching change,
says the reliever has “a zaftig ERA,”
and the former player in the booth,
a goyishe guy with a yiddishe name (Cone)
has a puzzled look on his Kansas-in-August
punim. “What,” Michael says,
“you never heard of zaftig?” And Cone,
humbled, mumbles, “Maybe in English class.”

David Lehman, the son of Holocaust survivors, is the author of A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs, which won ASCAP's Deems Taylor Award. He edited The Oxford Book of American Poetry,. His books of poetry include The Morning Line, Yeshiva Boys, and When a Woman Loves A Man.