issue 4: spring 2002

> Henry Isreali


All boot and jodhpur,
                                       sheen and perpendiculars,
                          drifting toward                          the five-year-old girl,
             crouched in a corner,

                                       ghetto-seized, jew-eyed . . .
             "Why are you crying?" he asks.

             "Do you know
I have a girl your age?"     Then the incredible:

she flings her arms around him
             kisses him, wildly.

A crack in the distance between them

             pries open,

                          her cheek pressed against his pin:

two tiny snakes lying             side by side.

Did they feel it, she wonders
             sixty years later–

                                       the children who held gloved hands
                          as they were led away–

or did they too find comfort
             in the sound of the Aryan angel’s

gold-leafed wings             teasing apart,

the melody
             of unpracticed departure?

"I can’t understand it," says my mother

                                       tracing six decades

             along a narrow cobblestone street,

but coming no closer.


> Henry Israeli



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