I sit in the grass by my grandmother’s grave
as I do every year, leave a stone, a Jew’s way
to show respect. I feel our souls touch.
I speak to her, about family events she never saw,
great-grandchildren she never met. I tell her how
much I love her, miss her, and I leave fulfilled.
This year, I tell her I’m sorry she is forgotten…
her pain, her struggles, her terror, her arduous journey,
her American dream destroyed in a cyclone of hate,
where swastikas and slurs swarm like bees, effigies
hang like ornaments, and Nazi chants draw cheers.
This year I mourn for her and for all those like her.
I am sad for those who say get over it.
Wounds have left scabs that are being picked open.
I feel chilled, my spirit broken.
The stone of respect I left behind seems crushed
like the fragile bones of fledglings under
Nazi boots in fresh dirt.
Don’t tell me to move on. Not yet.
Don’t judge, listen.
Don’t tell me you know. Hold my hand.
I want to feel protected. I want to feel safe.
My grandmother sacrificed more than you know
so I could live unafraid. She deserves that.
I do, too.