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  • Lydia Acevedo

Arbeit Macht Frei (Inspired by Sally Roisman)


Semitism in the eyes of a nation reflects the moment my mother yelled “go!”

And the moment I last saw her bright eyes.


Shot on the spot I see the man reaching for breadcrumbs.

Shot on the spot I see my little sister’s ruby slippers,

Shot on the spot I see my father taken away.


Tyrannical is the name of the persons who opened hells’ gates as is the name of whoever thought my mother, my father, my brother, my baby sister, could be replaced.


I cry for my mother and feel the water in my eyes every night, since the day she died. I want to be a daughter, a sister, a lover of life, and I wanted to be a leader... But how can I lead when fenced in? How can I lead when trapped?

How can I lead when I'm broken?


I have my spine arched and my hands resting on the leg of my sister. Yells and chattering fill the small room, My head sways, as my insides become so fragile I can begin to see myself in the corpses along the camp gates. I can begin to see myself in the in the dusty air I inhale.


I feel freedom,I feel fresh air, I feel liberation at my lips.


But, I can't see my mother's bright eyes, or my father's pride, I no longer see my little sister, I no longer see my brothers,

I no longer see the home we loved, I no longer see our Passover, and I no longer see humanity.


I'm given hope, for I see Yahweh on the horizon. The feeling of helplessness is outweighed by the power I'm given through the family I still have and the God who still knows me.

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