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Fifty Years Earlier

If I were born fifty years earlier
I would sit in a café in Paris,
Trade wit, find work writing copy
And critique, adventure in the arts and love,
Drink dark coffee and absinthe.

I would meet people in occluded rooms,
Crowded stations, and hush
Listen carefully, I will only say this once,
Pass small slips with single names,
Hide men in my attic,
Wonder about tomorrow.

If I were born fifty years earlier
I would say the proper brucha
Each morning, listen to my papa,
Go to yeshiva, study Talmud,
Marry whom I was told.

I would look toward the steppes
And one day see the horses,
My small town in smoke,
My footprints and cart tracks behind me,
Hope for a ticket of passage,
Wonder about tomorrow.

If I were born fifty years earlier
I would go to school
In the town with everyone else,
Shop in the markets,
Consider myself a citizen.

I would one day hear the crashing windows,
See the walls built, the paint flow,
The armbands and the army trucks,
Wonder what we had done,
Avoid the uniforms,
Wonder about tomorrow.

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Posted by on November 19, 2008 in Culture, History, Poetry

 

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