Bio Note: I live with my archivist husband in Toronto, Canada. I’m a poet and an entrepreneur, which two ports offer me frustration and balance. Born abroad (Poland), I retain a sense of otherness. I gaze at many things including human rights, relationships, art, and, yes, coffee. I’m a publishing late bloomer. My poems have appeared in several venues including Split This Rock, Canadian Jewish News, and Visual Verse.
Sharing Sand, 1920
The photograph says Warsaw, 1920. You and your friends step softly onto the public beach on the Vistula River as if breaking into a private home, a private country. How hard to be invisible as Yiddish songbirds— the inflections, origins, and habits so scorned by other Polish species. Then you forget, and claim your territory, sand kingdom of the new Jewish girl and boy. Unafraid, you race with gulls, sing above the waves, and trace dreams on newly unwrapped souls. You ignore the stares of haters thinking maybe today life begins by sharing god in waves and sand. The hours fill your hands with hope. Circling forward and back, I touch you, Grandmother, blown apart, the rubble moans— your spirit holds
You fell on sweetened ground beside torn ancestor branches. I search the world’s orchards for you— a trace, a notion of tenderness, did you have dark hair or light. The apple tree remembers your voice, and the prayers uttered in the old wooden synagogue that stood for centuries until destroyed by haters. The tree calls for the orphans to return, to recreate the space, not from the original, but from messages left by the dead. Grandmother, you float inside the replica, under the timber roof, 25 tons of civilization that we code furiously into the made up sky, to save the story that sickens me to complete to the end, I know you will not be there. Love comes from void, love fills the void at breaking points as ashes change to images; and minds are cut, spliced into a world reimagined to see me through.
©2021 Anita Lerek
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