Poetry & Prose

The GI Bill and Me

it’s winter break and I spend evenings in my childhood bedroom listening to my dad’s Miles Davis albums and I visit

the Fogg Museum with my mother, peer through tall glass in cool white rooms at diligently preserved

vases and cracked oil paints and my mom
asks why I don’t go pray anymore and I am shi ing my feet and I am counting

the words thick on my tongue like occupation, like violence,
like blood, (see textbooks for intro to Peace and Justice Studies, see

google, see bombs, see bodies, the cement walls, the ghosts

of missing towns, see me
at age 7 small and chubby holding blue

crayons learning there was nothing
and then there was Herzel and then then the desert bloomed) and I

imagine my words refracting though my mother, my grandmother and stories recounting hiding the matzah and the

plane ride and grandmothers of grandmothers who wrote letters about sitting in the belly of a boat and uncertainty and Jaye used to be

Jerksky, and I hear something about how my grandpa got made fun of and no one would hire him and my dad tells me these stories like golf course, like kike, like embarrassed to look up, but the thing is

my grandparents returned from war and got houses in the suburbs with bright blue swimming

pools and my mom went to Yale and my Dad commuted
to work in a shining volvo and wrote checks to the state of Israel and

I just see the glare of these pools and sharp edges of well-trimmed suburban trees and I keep counting poison and the curses here, keep looking

at the fences and what gets kept out and I know my mom is thinking about what gets kept out so don’t say anything and I just keep staring at the my mom though the warp in the glass and

at the fractures in the vases and listening to the skips in the albums, and watch time swallow language whole

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