The Chosen People

Elissa Rashkin

They say the grandfather
used to spit on the ground
each day when he passed
the synagogue.
Reluctant fruit
of the rabbinical tree.

Hatred makes no fine distinctions.
A Jew is a Jew and the devil will have his due:
G-d closed his eyes
the army came
and tossed the bodies
into a common grave.
One brother crawled out, broke
in pieces, to tell the story.
The family fled to Romania. The black waters
failed to recede. I wake up

each night

barely breathing

in my broken brother’s body
trying
to claw our way out