Never Yet Always

November 6, 2007
By Laura Reichardt, Dillon, CO

I have never been
Or anything else, for that matter--
Besides myself.

I have never learned the songs
As more than songs,
With a true belief
Bourne of faith.

I have never walked the aisles
During my Bat Mitvah, holding the Torah
Before me, my family behind me,
Hebrew flowing from me.

My mother was bourne
Completely of Jewish blood.
I only half, but by religion I
Ignore the part that is Christian.

I have never been to Dachau,
Auschwitz, or Germany itself.
The six million Jews who left
A hole in Europe can never be remembered. Enough.

I have never strolled among
A pile of massive shoes
Whose feet have been stolen,
Whose owners have been baked a delightful golden-brown.

I have never stood in line (left, right)
Waiting for a cold, impersonal
Man with the power of God
To decide who is spared to suffer the rod until they die.

My family was on the other side,
My grandfather fought in that war
For America, and not for his life
In Treblinka or Stutthof.

I have always felt drawn
To my heritage;
A long history of people
Oft persecuted.

I have always known
What I am, for "Jewish"
Is not just a religion
It is a blood reality.

I have always felt
A yearning for six million
Brothers, sisters, their stories
Lost and stolen.

Yet my father was part German
And I cannot ignore that.
So while I can excuse my parentage
I still mourn--both halves--of my heritage.

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