In that snapshot of Leon with Great-Uncle So-and-So, they’re slouching
somewhere equatorial, two Jews exiled in direct sunlight. To the right:
a cactus, which reminds them it’s thirsty this work — to stand for the
workers. To the left: some sand as if to say Keep Walking. My mother,
who learned to read by reading the socialist news, recalls the boat she
took to America (the SS Metapan of United Fruit Co.), the air gone sweet
with bananas left sitting in the sun. Passengers tasted pineapple in their
sleep. And docked in New York, everyone hid red kerchiefs. They forgot
the words to “The Internationale” or dropped them over the side the way
one puts away a photograph, not because it’s worthless but because it’s
evidence of somewhere distant, someplace sepia and blurred.
Previously appeared in the Birmingham Poetry Review.
Jehanne Dubrow is the author of four collections of poetry, including most recently “Stateside” and “Red Army Red” (Northwestern, 2010 and 2012).
We welcome your feedback.
Your information will not be shared or sold without your consent. Get all the details.
Terms of Service
JewishJournal.com has rules for its commenting community.Get all the details.
JewishJournal.com reserves the right to use your comment in our weekly print publication.