They hover over a spread newspaper, the Kishinev massacre back home, but back there was not home anymore. So in a Chicago kitchen, they stare, bloodshot, into words that stab, and let their mourning echo within these four walls, a silent symphony.
Back home, which wasn’t really home anymore, these violent days feel like the broken glass and bones of childhood – shops and homes burning, silence echoing through four walls, a symphony of fear. Their parents all tried to help, to recover stolen property.
These violent days feel like the broken glass and bones of childhood. They were callow, caught watching the woman raped on her doorstep as her parents tried to help, to recover stolen property. The Pale’s past blurs each current moment, ruminates, adds depth to memory.
They were callow, caught watching the woman raped on her doorstep before they fled to America. Exiles. Jewish refugees. The past resurfaces in their blurry minds, memories ruminating from the Pale despite strong-willed efforts to forget, assimilate, bury the dead.
Before fleeing to America, exiled Jews screamed burning, screamed ash, screamed bodies, bodies screamed. Their eyes dissolve in darkness with strong-willed efforts to forget, assimilate, bury the dead by pressing their hot moaning bodies on the bed, lovers intertwined.
Their bodies scream pleasure, their eyes dissolve in darkness, and she knows a baby is growing where many had died. By pressing their hot moaning bodies on the bed, intertwined, they pretend that they can transform, erase the shivering pain of mourning,
pretend that they can conceive a baby when so many are dying. In bed together, they spread out the newspaper, the massacre hovering. We can erase the pain of mourning. Transform. Migrate. Start over in Chicago. They stare, bloodshot, into words that stab.
-- Jamie Wendt is the author of the poetry collection Fruit of the Earth, which won the 2019 National Federation of Press Women Book Award in Poetry. Her poems, essays, and book reviews have been published in various literary journals and anthologies, including Feminine Rising, Lilith, Green Mountains Review, Literary Mama, the Forward, Third Wednesday, and Saranac Review. She holds an MFA from the University of Nebraska Omaha. She teaches high school English and lives in Chicago with her husband and two children.