The Gift

two long rows of yahrzeit candles some of them lit
Aunty Ann always wore
lovely dresses with long sleeves,
even on that sunny day in August
when I sat next to her
at the picnic table,
soft yellow silk slid up her arm,
and I glimpsed the numbers.
What’s that, Aunty Ann?
Oh, just something for grown-ups,
Shayne meydele, she said,
gentle fingers kissing my cheeks.
Go and play.
And so she blessed me
with a few more years
of childhood
until that day in fourth grade,
somewhere on the cusp between
only myself and the larger world,
when I learned about
the six million
and began my search for understanding—
which, of course,
I have never found.



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