Jewish Journal

Lost photograph of Trotsky, from the family album

by Jehanne Dubrow

August 20, 2014 | 12:30 pm

<em>Image via shutterstock.com</em>

Image via shutterstock.com

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).

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