The Reunion: A Poem for Yom HaShoah

The Reunion

She saw her mother for the first time in seventy-three years.

Mother, I’m so glad you’re here, she voicelessly yelled,
as the gaunt woman in a blue dress, head covered, waved.
Suddenly, a duet of excited voices invited her to return
to the empty kitchen table where her two brothers sat.
Ah, my brothers! You are here, too?

What could this mean? Mother and brothers.
Didn’t Mengele send you to the crematorium?

Eight weeks after that dreadful Yom Kippur night
when we heard the screams of the children
forced out of the darkened barracks to be gassed,
with you, my lost little brother amongst them,
Mengele shoved you, Mother, to the side in Barracks 22.
And that was it. I never saw you again. Never. Until now.

Is Papa with you? Oh, how could he be?
He was shot to death two weeks before liberation.

Oh, so much has happened since.
I’m almost 90. You are forever 35.
Oh, how I’ve missed you.

But tonight, the warmth is back.
You are back.

Will I see you again? Will you talk to me again?
How silly of me. This is a dream. I’m dreaming.
It is just so when my husband of seventy years comes alive to kiss my head,
or snoozing in the afternoon, I spy him sitting silently on our silky sofa bed.

Mother! You haven’t changed. You are still beautiful.
If this is a dream, let it last.

© David Mandler, revised on 1/27/2019

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Click on “The Loft” to find my short story of the same name.