I Came to Hear

I came to hear — the last train leaving Berlin
escaping to the West, the only sane noise
left in a young girls ears, blocking out the bombs,
wiping them clean from her memory.

I came to hear– the growl of empty
stomachs churning, from too many days
of gobbling raw potatoes, stolen from the farmer’s field.
Bald headed mothers and children– undernourished C.

I came to see –the longing stare of a grandmother,
who anxiously awaited –her husband,
drafted and missing.
I came to smell– the horror of an Uncle
dug up a month after he died, reburied by his brothers,
tormented with lit cigarettes and cold steel.

I came to learn– the truth of a young couple and their infant daughter
who immigrated to a new country,
golden and glistening with opportunity,
ignorant and unschooled in the language,
having only their youth and their wellbeing.

I came to know– a young immigrant
who helped her parents learn the slang and the dialect,
who lived in the railroad apartment on the second floor,
of an old brownstone in Manhattan where she learned to hate vegetables
and climb fire escapes.
The one with the crooked bangs
and the stubborn smile,
who waited and held on tight
who never forgot
what her Mother told her
about the horror
of war
evil men,
and shame.

A story– passed down
piecing together–fractured lives,
seizing– stolen moments,
storing up– the laughter
and the tears.
I came to hear.

Talk story

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