In memory of the Holocaust survivor who saved a classroom
I grew up wary of doors:
open, they could give you away;
closed, they could stop your heart
with a knock at midnight.
Humans were herded into pens like animals.
Let us go once more into the garden, my friends.
As an adult under Ceausescu
I learned to fear the walls & the furniture,
anywhere an electronic ear could be hidden.
Only outside could we speak
about our dreams.
Let us go once more into the garden.
When I told them I wanted to emigrate to Israel,
all of Romania became my jail.
Fired from my job, I still left the house
every day with my briefcase
so the children wouldn’t suspect anything,
so they could grow up without fear.
I mailed a manuscript out of the country
disguised as a series of letters.
Let us go, my friends, let us go.
Fears should be faced in the open.
Too long indoors, & the mind
grows walls of its own.
Even here in Blacksburg, one day
a tree fell on my house–
anything can happen.
Let us go once more
into the garden.
From Via Negativa, 4.29.2007.