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Thursday, August 26, 2010


by Judith Terzi

                        Indeed, history is nothing more than a tableau
                                    of crimes and misfortunes.
The day Julius & Ethel were executed
I wore a white ruffled blouse & red plaid jumper.
Father was so anti-communist,
no one ever asked what he thought,
but I knew he was scared.
Ten years earlier he had changed his name to King.
I was the only Jew at Lodi Elementary in Syracuse.
Three days a week all the others left early
for catechism. Asked why I stayed behind,
I never said. I sat in Mrs. McKeever's 5th grade room
memorizing "Daffodils" & "October's Bright Blue Weather."
I could have gone pro reciting poetry,
had Mrs. McKeever not told my parents
that my posture was bad,
that I dropped my head too far to one side.
We had no Christmas tree,
so I never invited anyone over in December.
I wanted to wear an Easter bonnet
with a velvet ribbon & plastic bananas
& red cherries glued to the straw.
I wore a green gabardine coat instead––
two-tone like our 1952 Chevrolet
& the blue and yellow walls in our den.
The Cold War boiled.
Ivy Mike went off on my birthday.
Then God entered into our country's pledge,
but I wasn't sure whose God it was.

Judith Terzi is the author of The Road to Oxnard (finalist Pudding House 2009 chapbook contest). Her poetry has appeared widely in print, has been nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology, and placed as runner up in the 2009 Alehouse Press Happy Hour Awards. A new chapbook, Sharing Tabouli, will be published by Finishing Line Press.