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Home Sweet Home?
We sat huddled together at the dock,
Just my Mutti, Vatti, and me.
Our wheat-colored tresses tangle as the wind blows.
The gray sky matches our gloomy emotions so perfectly; settled deep in the chambers of my heart.
“Goodbye, Germany,” I whispered to the midnight blue water.
The horn sounded and I knew it was time.
The rush of the waves of open water drew nearer.
Mutti wiped the tears from my eyes,
Her emotions far from stifled.
The booming reality dawned on me
When Vati shed his tears.
The bunks were small,
Hardly large enough to fit my small build.
My eyes wandered through the room,
Settling on the strangers’ somber faces.
It was too much.
The liquid form of sadness plastered my damp skin.
The waters of my soul trickled to the floor, but I must stay strong.
For journeys of this length require strength,
My eyes grow weary and gently close.
Sleep is my sanctuary,
And it will return my strength for tomorrow.
The dazzling sun did rise,
But the vessel’s iron sides shielded the world outside.
Sunshine was never a privilege,
But now I craved its warmth.
The meager rations once called frÃ¼hstÃ¼ck,
Were glopped on my soiled plate.
“Eat,” Mutti encouraged,
Though her plate was touched less than mine.
The gruel was too heavily salted.
It burned my throat as I choked it down,
Along with my new life.
I could feel the pain in my bones.
And as soon as the last bite was cleared,
Vati reached with his shirttail,
Gently wiping my tearstained cheeks.
“We will see home soon,” he promised.
“It will not be home,” I whispered,
Deception. Deceit. Lies.
Germany was the only home
I’d ever know.
“You will understand someday.”
He looked away, avoiding my bewildered gaze.
His words might as well have been in the choppy English
That tumbled so swiftly off American tongues.
The horn sounded again.
The sight of lady liberty looming just ahead made me nauseous
As opposed to the joy and relief I was told was I would feel.
Relief maybe, but only to escape this agony in material form.
The nauseousness left my body along with this morning’s breakfast.
I knew I shouldn’t have eaten that.
I stepped off the boat, and onto American soil.
But not really.
More lines. More crowds.
Strange men with dark hair examine my eyes and mark my coat with “CT.”
I am roughly shoved to the line marked “Deportation.”
So much for home.