“Just Yesterday, the Franks were taken.” I overheard her say.
Her voice trembled.
Her fists closed. Nails piercing the palm of her hand.
As she gasped for breath, in between the words too heavy to be uttered.
For I knew.
We all did.
For the pall draped on our coffin,
As though a corpse damned by the angels.
Disdained. Belittled. Threatened.
For the stars we carried on our brows,
As though a secret sinner, keeping his sin locked away.
Abhorred. Deterred. Cursed.
“For us, there is no Yahweh!” I overheard him say.
His voice hollow, on the verge of shattering.
His hands on her shoulder.
Cold. Embittered. Like shards, bitten off the forbidden truth.
She let go. Cried.
His face despondent. His eyes too. Moist.
Never had her lap felt so cold.
Never had his eyes been the victim of forbearance.
Never had our kind been caged in a four-walled burial of metal.
The surface of which basked with crimson dye, spouted from their lungs.
For I was still here. Waiting
for the clock to strike half past seven. Mother would have prepared supper.
They said it would be our last together.
Mother wished to take me to the rose garden nearby.
I said yes. We left early.
“For the path we take to the rose garden differs”, she said.
Isolated. Filthy. Distant.
The roses were beautiful. Mother plucked some for grandma’s grave.
A stone engraved with scrutiny and sympathy.
She said her prayers. Blinked her tearful eyes. Looked at me
“Remember this.” she said. Took me in her arms and cried. I smiled back.
For the path we took to the Rose Garden.
Did not Differ. Was not Isolated. Was not Distant.
For the songs we sang and the candles we held. Were all the same.
But the tears we cried were only ours to bear.
Perhaps, a little more trouble before we’d get there, you’d think.
To the Rose Garden. That’s what I decided to think till it all went by.
She did not let go. Neither did I.