A Survivor’s Poem

Dora (1916-2012)
At seven she cared for her sick mom
and did not go to school. At eighteen, she danced
to the Waltz of Flowers when she married.
The war like prairie dogs
came to Krakow. She was a Jew.
Numbers were inscribed in her forearm.
Dora was taken to the ghetto,
then Birkenhau and Auschwitz,
and escaped wearing two left shoes.
She looked for her one daughter at the Convent,
and it seemed like she no longer knew her,
the only one still alive.
They left to Santa Maria de Leuca, where by thick
chance she found her long lost husband on the beach.
Like water and soil, they had another child
and travelled overseas to Costa Rica.
She only spoke Yiddish but worked as a clapper,
selling pickles and fabrics from door to door,
until she owned a blue-jeans store. Her husband died
when she was fifty-two but she educated
her four children,
her sixteen grandchildren,
her twenty-nine great-grandchildren.
Her earthquake life settled, time shaded her hair white,
her knees could not carry. Her thin lips sang
“zink feigale zink”, sing little bird sing.

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