April 16-22, 2007: Ninth annual Yom Hashoah Issue

week of April 16-22, 2007

Our Ninth annual Yom Hashoah
(Holocaust Remembrance Day) issue,

and the Poetry Super Highway’s 500th issue

Andrew Huddleston
Aurora Antonovic
Dan Kasten
David Gershator
Deborah Rey
Diana M Raab
Howard Camner
Jana Jakesova
Joan Cashin
Michael Cluff
Sanford Goldstein
Thea Iberall

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Andrew Huddleston
andyndee@msn.com

Bio (auto)

Andrew Huddleston lives in Jonesborough, Tennessee.

The following work is Copyright © 2007, and owned by Andrew Huddleston and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Some Came Together

Some came together, whether child, woman or man˜
Who wore the mark, torn from their land Many were taken alone, see!
No longer free, no longer to be How could they know such a fate?
Every one viewed first with hate,
Then as animals to slaughter˜bloody contribution As many nations offered human pain,
This human dead meat˜a final solution The marked, the cursed˜to the cruel train!
Or be shot where you stand˜to dirt quickly!
See Satan loosed that day of death˜a sticky,
Thing blessed by men, condemned by God And the ovens were ready, the fire hot The people who appear to be but were not,
People who had a right to live among the pure!
They must know the monster fire and die sure No time for them, no mercy for any, they must,
Feed the fires, satisfy the hate, the blood lust Eat the glory, let them die, let them all die,
For the cause!  No one said nigh,
Not even a word Great is the idea they said then, evil claims still Take them and kill them all, infants˜fill,
The stomach of hate They must all die!
Put to the torch! Squash our own lie!
To make a testament of superior matters,
Of certain men, their souls made from tatters Of race only one, of minds made a truth untrue,
By a stew of sickness, deranged men with arms,
To kill, to maim, to play god, kill them and you No deity vulture could do as much, level such harm,
To the cause of mankind, the spirit, the heart,
Filled with earthly glory˜a mindless start Only with Satan can such numbers amount˜a world feast In the name of a fatherland, a notion, not the least,
Not the last Die, you must, you Jew beast!
Die you something different than we!
Take nothing with you to the trench!
Take nothing with you to the shower!
Pray you might, beg you might!
No words have a chance; it is late,
It is your birth, a promised fate!

Aurora Antonovic
aurora_antonovic@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

‘urora Antonovic is a Canadian writer, editor, and visual artist whose work has appeared nearly six thousand times in publications spanning twelve countries and five continents She currently acts as haiga editor for Simply Haiku, and editor of A Little Archive of Poetry, a publication that seeks to promote verse in every form Aurora is a recent Pushcart Prize nominee, and the illustrator of Marie Lecrivain’s latest chapbook, The Painter, available through Lummox Press She currently resides in Toronto, Ontario.

The following work is Copyright © 2007, and owned by Aurora Antonovic and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

interned
deported to death camps, yet
somehow surviving
but to this day
he won’t ride trains

Dan Kasten
dank@metrosn.com

Bio (auto)

The poem was specifically written for publication in the Intermountain Jewish News in April 2006  It was also read aloud at the Dallas Holocaust Museum on Yom Hashoah 2006… as it will this year, too  Dan Kasten resides in Dallas, Texas, with his wife and two children.

The following work is Copyright © 2007, and owned by Dan Kasten and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

For The Butterflies Of Auschwitz

if butterflies are the souls of children
then in a blackened perspective fuelled by fear

is there any difference between death by
natural causes and death by natural selection

if the greatest pain ever experienced is when
the soul is ripped from the body unprepared

then it is not up for discussion how neither
star nor cross was given to hearts worn out before time

regardless of what you have seen or heard
nothing prepares your senses for the lingering smells

burnt flesh diseased clothing saturating your pores
manifesting itself on these warm spring days

macabre gardens emerging with fractured growth
full moon evergreen forests past outstretched arms

ripped photographs of lost prophets torn generations
become a kick in the gut placing one back in touch

to contemplate how the loss of one or even the memory of one
transforms the lessons born here into weapons of love.

David Gershator
gershator@islands.vi

Bio (auto)

David Gershator’s poetry, short stories, artwork, and reviews have appeared in The Caribbean Writer, Contemporary Haibun, and Home Planet News, among other journals, and in several anthologies and chapbooks He also co-authored six books for children Gershator is the recipient of an NEH grant and a NY State CAPS Award He lives on St Thomas in the U.S Virgin Islands.

The following work is Copyright © 2007, and owned by David Gershator and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Museum Mummies

Living near the Brooklyn Museum
we got to know the mummies
we joked they were our relatives
and even better than relatives
at least we knew where to find them
not like your relatives, Abba–
the European angels of death
had seen to that

We know where to find the mummies
but where can anyone find
our family your family my family
they disappeared without a trace

We’re closing
say the tired guards
we’re closing
don’t worry
the mummies won’t disappear

For the Love of Frogs

My son the frog lover
world traveler
lands in Poland
on the way to someplace else
hops a train to Auschwitz

Dropping in on relatives?
checking what’s left
of the black hole of Poland?

He walks to the pond
where the crematorium ashes
were dumped
and on its bank
spots a medium size frog
captures it, looks it over
a familiar creature
part of his childhood family
of beloved critters
then liberates it
watches it take off
back into the Auschwitz pond
so calm in summer, so peaceful
only disturbed by a dragonfly or two
a frog’s croak, a bird’s call
a small sanctuary
surrounded by greenery
its bottom lined with human ashes
everything so green
everything related
even the lucky frog
free to be a frog among frogs
in a shallow pond
reflecting
reflecting

The Glass Collection

Mother
would light a yarzheit candle
every winter for her mother
a grandmother I never knew
to me it meant
another drinking glass

I liked to watch
the memorial candle
burn late in the night
and in the morning
I cleaned out the wax
and added another
new drinking glass
to the collection

Father
never lit any glass
he didn’t know
what happened to his parents
older sisters or younger brother
they disappeared without
a candle to their name

there was something
permanently missing
from the collection
in the cupboard–

his side of the family
never provided
any drinking glasses

Deborah Rey
deborah.rey@runbox.com

Bio (auto)

Deborah Rey (1938-?), born in Amsterdam, has from the time she was a little girl worked in radio, (later) television, publicity and the theatre, as a broadcaster, entertainer, scriptwriter, translator, editor, and actress, in the Netherlands, Canada and the USA Today, retired, she finally has the time to be a full-time writer, and cofounder and Chief Editor of La Fenêtre Magazine, an on-line and also printed, international literary magazine Deborah has the honourable distinction of having been a Child Resistance Fighter, and her autobiographical novel, Rachel Sarai’s Vineyard, relates her work during World War Two as a “baby-courier” in the Dutch Underground, and the “other” war she had to fight to find out the truth about her birth Both events are the Leitmotiv of her work, be it Poetry or Prose Deborah Rey is married, has one daughter and one grandson, and with her husband, two dogs, and six cats, lives outside a tiny village at the French Atlantic coast.

The following work is Copyright © 2007, and owned by Deborah Rey and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Free the Soul mit Arbeit

I stood in front of
the glass cage
filled with locks
of blond, grey,
black, brown hair
and searched and searched
for just one tiny curl
of hers Hers? It was long
and blond and stood out
like a lion’s mane,
proud, 
the same as she I searched but did not
find it.

I stood and stared
at thousands
and more
pairs of shoes;
big shoes
small shoes and
tiny little shoes,
and searched and searched
for hers Hers?
Brown, sturdy,
flat-heeled, sporty and
larger than her normal size
’cause of two pairs of socks
against the cold
I did not find them

I walked by the violins
and silver-handled
mirrors,
’cause she left
those with me
that night To remember her by,
she said She had to leave,
hoped to escape, survive The violin and the mirror
were taken from me
and sold for a bowl
of potatoes, and she?
She was betrayed.

Arbeit macht Frei
it says at the entrance
gate to hell and
knowing her, she did Work hard, I mean,
hoping to be free, return to me It did not help her
very much,though, but
if death means freedom
and peace, she got it I, too, am working hard I work like hell, ’cause
Arbeit macht Frei
it still tells me
today, a sad reminder.

Until I find one lock
of hair, one shoe, one tiny
something to remember
her by, and also
the place where she, 
her body,
was thrown into a cadaver
pit and doused with lye,
until I can kneel and kiss
the grass, and talk to her,
I’ll work like hell to free
my soul Arbeit macht Frei?
It does not help me
very much, as yet.

Diana M Raab
diana@dianaraab.com

Bio (auto)

Diana M Raab, M.F.A , essayist, memoirist teaches journaling, essay and memoir at The University of California, Santa Barbara Extension She is a regular contributor to InkByte.com, an online magazine for writers She also teaches journaling to high-risk kids in the community She is on The Board of the Santa Barbara Book and Author Festival Her writing has appeared or will soon appear in The Louisville Review, Frostproof Review, Palo Alto Review, The Trunk, Authorship, Red River Review, Survivor Stories, Ophelia Speaks, Rosebud, A Treasury of American Poetry III, Genie, The Binnacle, The Angry Poet, Tapestries Anthology, momwriterslitmag.com, Samizdada, Red Hawk Review, Coastal Woman, Facets Literary Magazine, Shemom, Rosebud, Poetry Soup, Women’s Writing Salon and Writers’ Journal In 1992, her book, Getting Pregnant and Staying Pregnant: Overcoming Infertility and High Risk Pregnancy, won the Benjamin Franklin Book Award for Best Health and Wellness Book It has been translated into French and Spanish The book is still in print Her poetry chapbook, My Muse Undresses Me, is forthcoming from Pudding House Publications in early 2007 Her biography, Regina’s Closet: A Granddaughter Discovers Her Grandmother’s Secret Journal, is forthcoming from Beaufort books in late 2007 She has two non-fiction books-in-progress, a memoir, Writing Out Loud: An Author’s Breast Cancer Story and ME: My Teen Life, and an inspirational book for teenagers
For more information, please visit her website: http://www.dianaraab.com.

The following work is Copyright © 2007, and owned by Diana M Raab and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Weekly Lottery

Giving into his obsessions
was one thing my father did
almost every day of his life
for the fifty years which
he lived after The Holocaust
which robbed him of his parents
and baby brother Josh, putting
he and his brother in Dachau’s
kitchen, slicing potatoes and
saving friends from starvation
as the Nazis dined off Rosenthal
plates confiscated from Jews
tossed into frigid barracks and
stripped of everything ever
important to them.

His first treat, after landing
in the United States, with his brother Bob, 
was using his factory paycheck for
a weekly lottery ticket, awaiting
the easy windfall, a sham of
good fortune, as if winning
the lottery was a ticket for his
new freedom boat His
bliss stretched to winning five
tickets, five more scratches of
horizontal square boxes with
the same 1945 nickel which
he always carried in his pocket
for good luck, maybe not
enough cents to keep the
inveterate smoker alive past 70.

Howard Camner
HCamner@aol.com

Bio (auto)

Howard Camner is the author of 16 poetry books He represents the U.S in the Poet 2000 Sculpted Library, an international exhibition of the works of contemporary poets He lives in Miami, Florida, with his wife and children.

The following work is Copyright © 2007, and owned by Howard Camner and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Shoes

There is no need to shout
We are not deaf
Our ears are full of decades and drums
beating like hearts full
yet ravaged by time and toil

In the field we waited for peace
barefoot and betrayed
Yet when she arrived
we recognized the face
but not the touch

She came too late to save the millions
She came too late to save the one

In barren rivers we joined hands
and the end began
as we fell like petals
far from the sounds of distant war
when eyes fought tears
and madness was king

Jana Jakesova
dynamika@volny.cz

Bio (auto)

My name is Jana Jakesova and I am living in Europe, Czech Republic, I am born and living in Prague I have published book of poems called “The Breath without Breathing” published by publishing house Eurolex Bohemia in Czech and English version I am also a paintner, my education is Charles University of Prague – a branch of journalism and also I studied two fine arts shools in Prague Poetry is many years beutiful part of my life This contribution I wrote after visiting of Terazin camp Translation did a Czech poet Ondrej Hanus and editing made a  poet  L P Jones from Los Angles US This is a poem in a prose It is for a loud reading written.

The following work is Copyright © 2007, and owned by Jana Jakesova and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

What Terazin Song About

On a nice May morning
we went on a trip
to that fortress with the two words
floating above it –

Concentration Camp

two words still kept in books

The town of Terazin; a thousand times
accursed, as if responsible for those who answered
“yes” to the question

Mihu Yehudi – Who is a Jew?

The curse of this town
by the elite of artists, minds,
by a yellow star
in its entrails hammered down,
by the star that all alone
has in the World of Shadows shone
together with those dreaming heads
even before someone said –

Mihu Yehudi – Who is a Jew?

It was the Chosen Nation, chosen
as a herd of cattle is selected for assassination

Mihu Yehudi – Who is a Jew?


We were afraid to enter the town of pungent stench,
of Death by Übermensch, afraid of not finding
a way to lead through the tiny gate, afraid of locked rails
and of questions

Mihu Yehudi – Who is a Jew?


Not even the flowers growing
on the neat graves beneath the statue
can swallow the nightfall that floats
as a memory of our future

Mihu Yehudi – Who is a Jew?


And here are the places where
all those artists were tattooed
as if art caused pain
showed the arms and their blue veins,
their multi-digit numbers

Mihu Yehudi – Who is a Jew?

A cramped camp, its quarters chill
on those beds you wouldn’t wish
to lie or even look at The beds of Jewish women,
and every Jew knows of course that Jewish women
are the prettiest Their babies were killed before
(or maybe after) they were born

Mihu Yehudi – Who is a Jew?


Here, orders were the rule,
even the dangerously strong genes
that they tried to exterminate–
the Nazis left nothing to chance What if the mighty Übermensch
were ruled by feculence,
by its strength and unity?

Mihu Yehudi – Who is a Jew?


How would it have looked if they had swapped
places, standing there with bundles on their backs?

It brings more than just frisson to imagine
that someone could have washed
with the soap from their bones,
that someone could have worn the wigs
made from their hair, so rich and black,
which were the Jewish women gifted
by a God without Mercy
Silently the hair fell under the scissors

Mihu Yehudi – Who is a Jew?


No wasting allowed by the Nazis!
horsehair and pigskins come in handy too
their skin is so smooth and so clean,
it still may shine somewhere as a lampshade

This is how they justified it

Mihu Yehudi – Who is a Jew?


They took the shoelaces
from those disgraced The robes of Adam’s and Eve
could make even Cain cry

Mihu Yehudi – Who is a Jew?


Their original sin was to be born
of an apple under the heavy boots
of men who roared in their dreams
and their sins; to sing, play, dance, love and live

Mihu Yehudi – Who is a Jew?


It wasn’t the Jewish God
It wasn’t the Christian God
who imprisoned them as bees
and butterflies trapped by the Mad Ones
The was no God but the One
carried in their hearts,
the Mind’s supremacy over Death

Mihu Yehudi – Who is a Jew?


Even the children wrote poems
on the taste of milk and bread
and the men wrote symphonies
of the immortal breed and of Hope
The deep-eyed women sang of flowers
and windows and homes Their soul-prints are still here, as sad
as the paintings of the dead

Mihu Yehudi – Who is a Jew?


The strongest ones were put in solitary cells
not good enough for cattle Many were here,
always filled with the toughest to be killed
You watch it, your eyes dull

Mihu Yehudi – Who is a Jew?


You can hear the silent wail
and still smell the lightning-gas
from the cavernous halls of showers
prepared for those genes
of geniuses,

Mihu Yehudi – Who is a Jew?


A cramped camp, its houses low,
the bunks in corners, wooden tables
made of just a few weak slabs
still screaming from the floor and walls

Mihu Yehudi – Who is a Jew?


Who has been here, has seen the terror,
the people watching other people,
their wives and husbands, sons and daughters
being led to gory slaughter?

Mihu Yehudi – Who is a Jew?


Where is the fat of the land?
The house with Talmud and Torah? Theft!
The candle stands!

And you can almost, almost see
their Nazi murderers!
with pockets full of treasures and golden teeth Standing unashamed, because

Mihu Yehudi – Who is a Jew?


Who were we to let it happen?
The skins of ours for their own
we changed with the disguised Devil
shouting from his arrogant lungs

Mihu Yehudi – Who is a Jew?


It was not a nice spring day at all
when we came back from Terezin, his walls
and sky as black as all the eyes of Jews
that held the sadness of centuries–
we didn’t like ourselves then, passing through…

Suddenly as if by miracle the sound 
heard from heaven, the immortal song
of the famous violin, Yehudi Menuhin
leading us back from the town of Terezin
to sing

Joan Cashin
cashin.2@osu.edu

Bio (auto)

I have published in ACORN, INTUITIONS, POETRY MONTHLY, and other journals, and I live in Columbus, Ohio.

The following work is Copyright © 2007, and owned by Joan Cashin and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Old World

The beeches stand like columns in a pavilion,
sentinels in the northern plain,
while the powdered light sifts down Gardens flank the road to Aachen
bounded by Queen Anne’s lace,
their palms raised to the sky At the horizon, there is no horizon,
only a concentration of gray
and a ripple across the membrane of time.

The gardener calls out, “It will rain And a Jew lives down that road So go home “
The souls of the dead step out of the gardens and call back,
“home “

Michael Cluff
Michael.Cluff@rcc.edu

Bio (auto)

Michael Cluff of Highland, California is now on a quasi-sabbatical from his full-time teaching job at Riverside Community College in Norco, California until June where he teaches English and creative writing He also team teaches an adult improvisation class in Rancho Cucamonga In late April/early May, he will appear as Gerald Firestone in The Fontana Mummers’ production of If The Good Lord’s Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise His Iraqi Monlogues have been published on the Dissident Editions’ website out of Belfast, Northen Ireland In the summer of 2007, he will co-direct Mamet’s Sexual Peversity in Chicago for the d gallery in Ontario and appear in a student film Our Lady of Paris as Jacques.

The following work is Copyright © 2007, and owned by Michael Cluff and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Rolf Ludgwigge

One day,
he arrives early
to pick up
Hans,
his nephew,
from his piano lessons
and he finally
speaks to me
about his
“The past,
it is always difficult
to talk,
no?”

[If what I heard
is true,
it will be in
your case,
Rolf]
“I was born
about ten months
after the Allieds
came to free us
from the Nazis
“And Ernst, Hans’ father,
was born about two and one half years
after that “

[About my age] I realized
with a start
that shrieved me
to the soul
“Being Polish
we were glad
they were gone [ I truly imagine so ]

“We,
my family,
as you know
[indeed, I unfortunately
do]
lived a mile, or about one kilometer,
from the site—

my parents having moved
or were made to move
from Brzeszcze
in 1936
“None of my family
worked there,
in this new town,
thank Gott,
but we never
knew what was going on there
except “

[I could imagine]
I said to myself
as he trailed off
into nothingness
silence
Then,
“Well, when I was eight
[a year before I was born]
I was dared
by other Oswiecim boys
to walk by the place
on a late January
lightly, that’s how you say?”
[It is, Rolf]
“snowing night “

“One boy each
would stand at the ends
of the western fence,
Aldophus and Fritz,
three years older and terrors,

funny,
I still
recall their names,

“to be sure I did not
cheat,
if I remember
such details
rightly”
[Historians and cynics
and cruel people
would deny
you do so

not I,
Rolf]
“It was a child’s,
a boys’ thing very important
to do
when you lived in Oswiecim “

[I always shutter
when I hear that word]
“Universal male action,”
I said aloud
without thinking
as usual
“Yes,
I suppose so,”
he said bending
his head slowly
without guile
unlike others
“Please continue,”
I said in earnest

[but only if you
really want
to]
I added for own my thoughts only
“So,
I walk slowly,
at first,
not afraid
but not unafraid
either
“All the old stories and myths
parents and grandparents told
came biting back
at me
and [WHAT!
I yell internally]
I heard the voices
of all the dead
“The dybuks and golems
Jewish people
call them ,

I believe,
[Myself,
Sam,
being Jewish
what he says is somewhat true]
‘With each step
they get louder,
the moans
and cries of pain
but what is even worse
[could anything there be really
more horrible
that the prisoners’ yelps]
“was the sighs
of resignation
or maybe,”
he stopped
choking,
“even death “

“And then
the really, very fearful
happen,
[What could top
this horror
of what you
just have told me ]

” the snow started
again,
fine
like an ash

but is was really
fresh human skin “
[Oh God,
no!]
I panicked
“And it blended
into a backdrop,
I think you say
in English,
of many babies wailing “

[There are never
the right words
to say
at times like these
except]

“I am so sorry “

“Thank you,” Rolf said,
“and as I walked
along
eyes straight ahead
no turning to left
or right,
I shuddered
with every step
[to say the least,
I couldn’t imagine
what he’s gone through
ever]
” but never once
cried
until
I was home
alone in my own room,
my own bed “

“During that forever walk,
the snow become,
how you say,
the product of the chimneys
still in the distance,

the color of flesh,

in my upset,
frightened,
terrorized
and mythologized,
is right no,

not to say
it didn’t happen
it did,

mind
“Even now,
in my dreams
of Poland
of youth
of there,
Oswiecim,
it never stops,
wherever,
how ever,
with whoever,
I go with “

Rolf
paused
and looked at me
a long time,
hurt, haunted,
still tracked down by relentless-Nazi eyes
always just outside my plate glass library window
and said,

” even here
in free
democratic
Sweethaven, U.S.A America “

Sanford Goldstein
goldsteinsanford@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

Sanford Goldstein
Retired professof English, writer of tanka,
co-translator of Japanese tanka collections I now
live in Japan, taught at Purdue in Indiana 36 years,
taught in Japan at a small college for 12 years and
retired a second time I was born in Cleveland, Ohio
1925

The following work is Copyright © 2007, and owned by Sanford Goldstein and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

From On Shoah: A Tangled Tanka String

now
a decades-after echo:
was there holocaust? was there?
oh, Shoah,
tell it like it was!

.

that stink
of pressed bodies
in cattle cars
piss and excrement
and no place to hide

.

what fantasies
hurled
through those Auschwitz skulls,
the special detail Jews
who cut hair, who hauled bodies?

.

trimming hair,
that barber recalling
his holocaust memory,
and the sudden stopping
to grab a towel for tears

.

to live now
at Auschwitz,
at Treblinka where cows graze,
can these Poles
shove history into a trough?

.

I see
rabbits
outside the camp at Treblinka others knew
the gas was coming

(previously published in Shofar, Fall l987–a journal of the Jewiish Studies at Purdue )

Thea Iberall
thea.iberall@verizon.net

Bio (auto)

Thea Iberall is a poet, playwright, and scientist She has been published in a variety of journals, including Southern California Anthology, Rattle, Apollo‚s Lyre, Spillway, Peregrine, Sunspinner, poeticdiversity, Mannequin Envy, New Works Review, The Blue House, hissquarterly, and ONTHEBUS She is in Blue Arc West: An Anthology of California Poets, and Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust Her collection of her contextual poems, The Sanctuary of Artemis, is being published by Tebot Bach Iberall represented Los Angeles at the 1998 National Poetry Slam Competition, and she is featured in the documentary „GV6 THE ODYSSEY: Poets, Passion & Poetry.‰ Her play At Seven was performed by the Toledo Repertory Company, and her Primed for Love had a run at the Eclectic Company Theatre At the OUT Theatre in Long Beach, she had two other plays performed: Amacry! The Neuronic Musical and When I Was Called Tony Her one-woman show, The Only Greek Thing About Me is My Name, will open in June at the Santa Monica Playhouse She has a Master‚s Degree in Writing (USC) and a Ph.D in Computational Neuroscience (UMass).

The following work is Copyright © 2007, and owned by Thea Iberall and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Synagoga Stars in Krakow

The rituals are neatly detailed on cards
yellowed numbers cross-correlate to caged artifacts —
the fasting at Yom Kippur, sedar at Pesach,
noisemakers at Purim when Queen Esther —
you know the rest If you don’t
go to the museum, it is

not a house filled with families at prayer
like those at St Mary’s in Market Square
where signs say no photos, no talking
during mass, this is a holy

place In this synagogue (from the Greek meaning
assembled) sepias unroll in the women’s prayer area
showing where the assembled concentrated — the numbers
there are always numbers German
high school boys on holiday
stroll in their zippered jeans
smug on their cell phones but I don’t care

I am staring at a photo on the wall It looks like my sister when she was four
blonde curls, pleated skirt, her chubby cheeks in smiles
the prize for finding the afkomin at Pesach
and the question she asked
ma nish tana hileilah hazed*– why?

*At the sedar on Pesach, the youngest asks “Why is this night different from all other nights?”

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