Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I Came to Hear

I came to hear -- the last train whistle leaving Berlin,

escaping to the West-- the only sane noise

left in a young girls ears, blocking out the bombs,

wiping them clean from her memory.

I came to hear-- the growl of empty

stomachs churning from too many days

of gobbling raw potatoes stolen from the farmer’s field.

Bald headed mothers and children—classified undernourished C.

I came to see --the hopeful stare of a mother with five children

who vainly searched for her husband--

drafted and missing.

I came to smell the horror-- of a child

exhumed a month after he died, wrapped in nothing but a blanket,

reburied by his brothers-- tormented with lit cigarettes and cold steel.

I came to learn-- the truth of a young couple and their infant daughter

who immigrated to a new country

glistening with opportunity,

unschooled in the language,

having only their youth and wellbeing.

I came to know-- a young girl

who helped her parents learn the slang and the dialect,

who lived in the railroad apartment on the second floor,

of an old brownstone in Manhattan, where she learned to hate vegetables

and climb fire escapes.

The one with the crooked bangs

and the stubborn smile

who waited and held on tight,

and never forgot

what her Mother told her

about the horror

of war

evil men,

and shame.

A story passed down

piecing together fractured lives,

seizing-- stolen moments,

storing up-- the laughter

and the tears.

I came to hear.

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