getting closer did I get close?

Flying 13 hours to access a piece, pieces, it’s all in pieces

they pulled up the matsevas, all of them in every town and repaved the roads re-built homes, made kitchen utensils,

some bearing visible engravings of the names of the dead in Hebrew letters,

the pieces themselves the fragments and markers where the edges of the ghetto were framed

on the Eastern edge by a river, a doorway from the ghetto side of a hotel, through a staircase and out another door

into the free space of Czestechowa, is this closeness?

to walk the stairs and fumble through a conversation with a dental hygienist in Polish, was this once a hotel?

ok Dziękuję thank you thank you I’m just trying to find something I lost

a staircase a house a candelabra a bakery a pigeon coop a language I don’t speak

I’m trying to understand hatred I’m not any closer

can’t claim suffering today don’t want to claim victimhood, standing in an enormous hole in Volozhin

we are standing in an enormous hole in Volozhin:

a small well runs with holy water, it has been said, the storm clouds passing above make way for deep blue

a cow languidly bats his tail around on the hill above

we’re singing di Krenetse and trying not to get a sunburn on this pale, white girl skin

four boys on bicycles come plowing down the hill in tank tops and stop short at the entrance to the well

can they see us?

we are standing in an enormous hole in Volozhin, floating in the empty space once inhabited by 3,500 Jews

and the sun is blazing down

Lucy is teaching a courtship dance that breaks us into laughter,

women taking the hands of other women, we’re holding onto each other

and holding the space open for a couple to pass through

we are holding the space open for each other, for time to stretch open for us,

for the boys on the bikes

for the cow

the cicadas, the rooster, the women peering through their lace curtains at us as we walk up the hill.