The war was over
They stamped my passport at customs
and all I could do as flinch.
Shrink from the officer’s gaze as he asked me
where I’d been –how long I’d been gone?
Why had I gone?
I wanted to scream at him, clutching my arm
in barely muted hysteria,
I didn’t want to go –this just happened to me!
I opened my mouth and chocked on the ashes spilling out.
I wept, humiliated
at being interrogated yet again.
He softened suddenly as he looked at me
and said, ‘have a good day ma’am.’
I braced for my death sentence and
was shuffled out of line.
In the car, I searched for some sign
that the war was over.
My mouth told them I was happy –yes,
My suffering was over, thank G-d.
I shivered under my jackets.
The Giantess of the Island turned
her massive and dispassionate face
Little one –why aren’t you grateful?
Have I not stretched forth my hand
and delivered you from bondage?
Still tasting the ashes of Europe,
my bitter response tumbled out:
Where is my husband? Our son? Where are
my little girls?
Don’t talk to me about gratitude –
hell is no deliverance from Egypt.