Remembering the Dead/2

by Mark Chmiel

Dear Shimmelstoy
I was moved by what you mentioned about Joel

His is a private commemoration
Which for some reason reminds me of Yankev Glatshteyn

(If you haven’t read him yet, get’s Fein’s translation
In my twenties I read many of Glatshteyn’s books in the original Yiddish)

You and I both know the Holocaust
Has been used as a weapon in Israel

Begin used it against Ben-Gurion
Ben-Gurion used it against Nasser

Politicians today use it to justify their crimes
Even as they insist Palestinians cease talking about the Nakba

To this day I still read books that come out of the 1930s and 40s
I’ve never had a “Holocaust phase”

It’s obviously been a steady part of my inner life
And my outer commitments too

Unwittingly through you
Joel gave me an idea

I recently went on-line
(Just like he does)

And I found a list of the Palestinians killed
In Israel’s most recent “operation”

Translated: “weeks of atrocities by the IDF”
I found myself whispering the names of the victims

One after another
For several minutes

Then I had to stop…
I was feeling so tight

For a few minutes
I was overwhelmed

So I had to breathe in deeply
And breathe out deeply

There’s so much to do Shimmelstoy
You remind me of this …

Sending you one of my immense hugs
Bella Levenshteyn

–from novel-in-progress, Our Heroic and Ceaseless 24/7 Struggle against Tsuris

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