Friday, December 29, 2006

  1. A Poem in Two Mood Swings


    I am the daughter who came after
    those who went to heaven
    through the opening of a chimney at Auschwitz
    or the lucky ones who sailed through a harbor
    waving the torch of their hearts
    at a statue
    never mentioning
    the two grandparents who remained

    as life skipped a generation
    and gravel filled my mouth
    with uncomfortable silence.

    I pick out stones now
    and place them on graves
    no, throw them at the pits of Hell.
    Here's one, two, three, four...

    a volley of stones
    transporting me back
    to when I ran
    in fields
    with my cousin, my sister, my uncle
    looking for any hole
    where we could bury ourselves
    and never come out


    My parents spoke Hungarian,
    not Yiddish.

    They ate stuffed cabbage,
    not lox and bagels.

    On Yom Kippur
    my sister's friends
    came over the house
    to stuff themselves.

    We were a refuge
    from being Jewish.

    All my teachers
    in the New York City school system
    were Jewish.

    When my father was growing up in Hungary
    he use to protect the smaller boys
    from getting beat up.

    My father was a Communist
    who sent my older sister out
    to buy the Daily World.

    Politics made people argue
    or disappear underground.
    Everything was hidden.

    When my father was dying from cancer
    my mother didn't want him to know what was wrong
    because she was afraid he wouldn't fight it.

    On his deathbed
    he told us to never forget we were Jewish.

No comments: