Das Haus of my ancestors has made me pale.
Freckled specter of Six Million
past and I, the blue-eyed anomaly.
you look as if you would have survived
inferno, internment, the walls of the
ghetto greatgreatgrandfathers escaped
a few years too soon. Ach du, my hidden
identity. I have no sleeves to bear it.
II. Russia: Odessa? Belarus?
Haunting the village cobblestones
lay leftovers from the pogroms, the litter
of aftermath: burnt siddurim, shards of glass,
children in rows. A sidewalk funeral
for the greatgreataunt
I have never met. Mourner’s Kaddish
amidst the bones of our home. We
leave glavnaya tomorrow, v’eemru:
III. Poland, perhaps Lithuania
Tolerance only lasts so long
with this birth certificate of displacement,
resident of countries constantly alternating.
Still, greatgrandpa has no
language of his own.
No wonder hiyim is life and home. Take it
with you when you have none.
IV. Portland, Oregon
This countenance of my ancestors,
greatgrandma’s freckles, her
smile lines sewn into my face,
I was born into this diaspora birthplace.
Genetically, a Jewish-American American-
Jew. One of the few in this family
to definitively know the
borders of my bayit did not change,
did not warrant a leaving.
History the color of the Willamette in June.
V. Some Other Country in Eastern Europe
Rebecca Kahn is a junior at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. She is majoring in English and Creative Writing and minoring in Art History. She has previously been published in Polaris Literary Magazine, Revolving Door Magazine, The Merrimack Review, and Laurel Moon. She enjoys dancing, tacos, and Dogspotting.
"Home" was selected by Erin Coughlin Hollowell as the winner of the 2017-2018 Grossbardt Memorial Poetry Prize, which is awarded each year to one poem written by a Brandeis undergraduate and published in Laurel Moon.
Hollowell is the author of two collections of poems, Pause, Traveler and Every Atom. Her work has been most recently published in Prairie Schooner, Alaska Quarterly Review, Sugar House Review, and was a finalist for the 49th Parallel Contest for the Bellingham Review. Hollowell teaches for the University of Alaska Anchorage Low-Residency MFA Program, Kenai Peninsula College, and the Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference. She is the executive director of Storyknife, a women writers’ residency in Homer, Alaska.