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Thursday, March 23, 2017


by Linda Lerner

“The picturesque old town of Dachau invites one to linger and enjoy its many places of interest.” —

my father’s voice that I hadn’t heard
since he died interrupts a news report
about anti-Semitic crimes increasing
here, didn’t I warn you, he says
the smoke from 70-year-old explosions in Russia
rises up from bomb threats at Jewish centers now
and I’m fighting with him again to
stop living in the past, that’s over with,
I say, but as the newscaster
continues citing threats across
the country I begin marching
back to my college years protesting
discrimination against blacks
signing petitions against segregation
do it from the safety of my birthright;
there’s nothing to worry about, I tell him
it’s not us, it’s Muslims who have to worry
who need my help today…

outside the sun is shining; in the warm
winter light everything looks as it always has;
a friend is telling me about her trip to Germany
to where the death camps are now tourist sites;
as she walked around the city, went into shops
visited a park, watched children playing,
their parents looking on, relaxed,
said, I could have been in New England

Linda Lerner has new work in Onthebus, Chiron Review, Gargoyle, and SoFloPoJo. In spring 2015, she read six poems on WBAI for Arts Express. Her recent collections include Yes, the Ducks Were Real and Takes Guts and Years Sometimes (NYQ Books) and a chapbook of poems inspired by nursery rhymes Ding Dong the Bell Pussy in the Well.