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Thursday, August 07, 2014


by Linda Lerner

The author's father's family.

He never spoke of what it was like
those three years in Amsterdam
waiting to get to America

and I never asked….
I heard about it from her, not him

he & I lived in separate countries;
there was no crossing over, not then;
day after day I read about those thousands
of migrant children…. many 17 and younger…

and I hear my mother’s voice from
before I was ready to listen, only 17 when his father
forced him to join a group of youths
fleeing Russian pogroms…

In an album she left me are photos of
the family he’d never see again…

using their story I sneak across the border;
among the children coming thru Mexico,
Central America, some drowning or getting shot

I see that Russian boy
standing with others who made it here
forced to explain  WHY  what
he’ll be asking himself his whole life

A chapbook of Linda Lerner’s poems using nursery rhymes as a taking off place Ding Dong The Bell Pussy in the Well, illustrated by Donna Kerness was published by Lummox Press, in Feb. 2014. Her next full length collection Yes, the Ducks Were Real will be published by New York Quarterly books in Fall 2014.