Tonight we watch stand up
Tonight the small talk
with the cute boy
at the nearby table
upgrades to conversation.

One comedian proclaims
As half German and Israeli,
I’ve been unsuccessfully trying to kill myself for years
The word Israel hangs on the cute guy’s lips
like a dress bedazzled with moth bites
and I find myself gargling acid
my Jewish star tangled inside my shirt

He says Jews should just get over the Nazis
The Holocaust was the best thing to happen to them

I wanted him to like me.
I wanted him to like me so bad

I pretend this is politics
Anti-semitism is just politics
But I’m so tired of racism being a political agenda

They ask
What’s it like being Jewish?
I describe flesh beneath a knife
we are dissected
scientists hypothesize our survival
because we were supposed to go extinct long ago

We are not New York sitcoms
We are sitting
Sitting on ruptures
inheriting black and blue chromosomes
Unravelling our skin to cartograph constellations shot out of the sky
a thousand galaxies smeared into one Jewish problem
And yes I’m making a Holocaust reference
And I’m allowed to a make Holocaust reference
60 Years is not long enough to forget
600 not long enough to forget
Because there is no statute of limitations on genocide

Grandma could not get over Auschwitz
electric barb walls fed by corpses
punctured souls
evaporated lungs
she quivered beneath flame to keep possession of her breath

You say
not everything is about the Holocaust
my sun dives through heaven
Navigating air traffic from Birkenau
I should be living in Poland
Have brown hair across my scalp
But when SS raped grandma
It condemned me to blonde prettiness
I’ve spend my life trying not to recognize my own rage
ripping off stinging swastikas
Off flesh that never feels like skin

Flesh that might carve another Jewish child
a cavern echoing shouts for justice
The more you howl
into us the louder we roar
Over and over
You cannot get over your DNA
Even when it strangles your cells

My body is prison
Treblinka skin
Skinning myself into the polite stapled mouth Jew
Has only created empty
The cold empty
The empty parking spot where cattle cars pull up
And we go in to be slaughtered
Like we gut history to story
Degrade war to just one battle
Rewriting each grenade
As a footprint

But we are marching on
Every day is a death march
A quarter of this planet is still anti semitic
A billion people would still deny me
the right to write this poem
To write
A third of the people who know about the Holocaust 
still deny it even happened
I'm writing because
we are more than what happened
Writing to memorize
To recognize
when people like you
try to recite the first chapter

Don’t tell me to get over the death of Jews
When your entire religion is based off one
We are more than the lives
you never deemed worthy of resurrection


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