poem: berlin reparations (meditations in quarantine)

a before-i-die list
for the after:
a faux jewish girl
standing in lattice shadow—
the town-square
in café colors,
un-expressed dims. because we
are a dream, the Eiffel Tower
is a historical shadow
above; the girl
leans against. she is smoking—
pivotally, the ash blurring upwards,
the ash of other people
not her people; she cannot make
challah bread, the necessary prayers;
her body is wound
in riot history: her people
are the fascist people,
girls in pigtails and brown sweaters
embroidered red armbands
coming home shy
(after the club)
because that neighborboy, the local
star, the one-day psychopath:
he kissed
her on the cheek, white butterflies
landing around
like an american film.

Film-cut, Paris, guilt: we are not quarantining
anymore; we are in the future. it is
wrong, the paper says,
in fat ancient letters
yiddish letters
looking like truth—
you cannot humanize these ancestors, they took
it away,
they lost that right. and you—
you are not jewish; there is no once-spilled blood
lurching around inside
God’s chosen arms, hands, legs; but God
the contemporary girl
she rattles around
with the blood of the father,
the wrong blood—

This is not a good thing to think on
when the world is still;
she hears the names drop slowly
on empty floors, gold teeth
gold teeth
gold teeth.
she says
(to no one)—legacy
that fucking selfish

2 thoughts on “poem: berlin reparations (meditations in quarantine)”

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