Instead of welcoming a surprised visitor
They have closed the door



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Separation in Together

By Josiah Vermont

She asks me my name and I cannot pronounce it properly
So I tell her Josiah, and they all pause to think.
Then someone else asks me my last name and I say it quickly. Just to get it over with.

They look to each other and nod knowingly in agreement,
suspicions have been confirmed.
This tall tanned stranger in their midst is spelt all wrong
Perhaps a counterfeit

His last name is not Klein or Stein, Goldberg or Rosenbaum
or Rosenfeld or Silver or Silverman or Newman
Doesn’t eat gefilte fish, nor reside in the local Goshen
No similarities between him and us, he does not belong

Perhaps they have forgotten being scattered to the four corners
Maybe they feel our history begins with the holocaust
Would they stone me if I said Yiddish is a variant of German,
Or hug me if my last name was Cohen or Levy?

Even among the fellow persecuted and oppressed
there is a lack of understanding
Instead of welcoming a surprised visitor
They have closed the door
If Elijah does not appear as an Ashkenazi or Sephardim
Will they turn him away too?

* * * * *

      Josiah N Vermont lives in Toronto, Canada and is the winner of the 2006 Marion Drysdale Award with prose titled 'Released'


from the March 2009 Edition of the Jewish Magazine

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