Born on the outskirts of the Romanian kingdom
in ’34, seven years before the war,
you saw the first bombs rain upon your shtetl
at 6 am, people falling under silver trickles
of fire, the bridge collapsing behind you
without a sound (your mother had covered your ears
with her hands). Those red shoes you wore, the yellow dress,
the new watch (a gift from your dad), and pearls of tears
were your good luck charms during the wartime mess.
When your father went missing you wrote on passing trains
the time, your name and the name of the village
you were being taken to. What did you write it with?
I’ve never asked you whether it was a rock,
a piece of chalk or a nail that left your message
on the green train cars. How did you manage?
Was it worth it? Sixty seven, to be precise, years later
is it still visible as your granddaughter
bites on her pen writing about you,
fishing for “something memorable” for a project due
tomorrow, that you were born in a kingdom whose king
was a little boy.