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 waved at her.
Suddenly, a duet of voices invited her to return
to the empty kitchen table where her two brothers sat.
Ah, my brothers! It’s really you?

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

I know eight weeks after that Yom Kippur night
when we both heard the screams of the children
forced out of the dark barracks to be gassed,
with my little brother amongst them,
Mengele shoved you to the other side in Barracks 22.
And that was it. I never saw you again.

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 still just 35.
I 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.
It is just so when each night my husband caresses me or when
I see him sitting on the sofa though it’s been eight months since
he quietly expired at night in bed right next to me.

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

© David Mandler

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