Old World, New World
On the train. Finally, suddenly and again it’s Friday, and I’m filled with that particular mix of longing, joy, and impatient expectation. I’m on my way back to Brooklyn in search of the source of my breath, though I hadn’t realized I was home until I’d arrived –months ago. Cold, frightened, the precious skin protecting my heart raw from the blistering loneliness of the desert.
From the window I spot the giantess of the Island, torch held aloft as she stares dispassionately at the people so far below. I think I want to cry, but not in front of rush hour witnesses. I am caught between the pain of gratitude and the sudden, pressing rush of grief as I think of all the bodies and faces given shelter here, and the ones (far out numbering them) that remained trapped in the rows of cinder blocks and cement. Desperately trying to force their way out of train cars.
I think of you, on your way back to the Father Land, stepping through time forward and back into our history. My heart aches. Suddenly ten stops to Flatbush is too long.
I see you standing beside the old barracks where they put you to sleep, reading the sign that explains with rational detachment that we were put to death in their gas chambers. My heart aches. Never again, never again, please God –never again!
My love, you don’t remember that we there. I am going to Brooklyn, and you are in Europe, but soon we will both step into sacred time to stand outside the world. I tremble as I ache in concert with suppressed grief.
You have no idea, and I can’t even tell you, how you took a piece of my heart with you when you went back to Germany. I thought I was going to die of grief, watching you unknowingly walk right back to the place that betrayed you, and I held my tongue out of respect for the dead.
I tell myself to breathe, to hold on until I can light candles amidst the loving eyes of family and banish the mundane with a single name. For this span of sunset to star rise, you will be looking for refuge from the onslaught of disconnected emotions and I will be looking for God in silent streets and in the tiny synagogue where the men will gather to sing, praying that somewhere in the eddies of this day we will find each other, clasp hands tightly, and leave the wilderness together.